Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I have been in e-mail conversation with our treasurer, Bob Johnston, about St. Paul’s’ parochial report. This is a report for The Episcopal Church that every parish fills out annually concerning its activities and its finances. Mostly, it is the source of statistics about our church, but it is also used for other purposes, such as computing our diocesan assessment, the money we pay to the diocese to support the diocese and the larger church.

Because it was not obvious from the annual report where some of the financial information on the parochial report was coming from, I have been asking Bob for clarifications. He has been both patient and helpful, and I can only say that it is difficult to imagine a parish treasurer’s being any more forthcoming and cheerful than Bob has been. I now think I understand almost everything of a financial nature that appears in our parochial report.

This morning, Bob sent me a spreadsheet listing, among other things, money that we collect and forward to other organizations such as Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). I was very surprised by his accounting, because some of these numbers appear nowhere in our annual report. For example, I extracted this chart of money we sent to various organizations last year from the information Bob supplied:



Episcopal Relief and Development $6,640
South Hills Food Pantry $4,675
Shepherd’s Heart $464
Church Periodical Club $80
Pat Hurd Mission Trip $2,551



None of these numbers appears in the annual report, presumably because the amounts represent special collections, often in special envelopes, given directly to the recipients listed. I want to take note of these numbers because some parishioners chide us for our stinginess regarding outreach. Indeed, we spend no money on outreach from pledges and plate income. Parishioners should notice, however, that the Outreach Fund gave away $4,300 last year, mainly from fundraisers such as our fish fries. Likewise, ECW contributed nearly $13,000 in outreach to such organizations as ERD, Calvary Camp, and United Thank Offering. Without looking deeply for expenditures that might conceivably be construed as outreach, therefore, we can confidently say that we are giving away more than $30,000 to organizations doing outreach.

Should we be devoting more money to outreach? Probably. But let’s give ourselves credit for the outreach we are doing. And next year, let’s make sure that all our outreach, even money we collect and immediately send off to organizations like ERD, is shown in our annual report.


jmhjr4 said...

There appear to be a couple of inaccuracies in your statements. First, our contributions to ERD were $7,154.83, not $6,640 as you indicate.(Page 35, ERD). Second, our contribution to Pat Hurd's trip must have been in excess of $4,000, not $2,551.(Page 35, Mission Trip to Uganda). Pages 34 and 35 spell out significant outreach by the members of St. Paul's and, while specific numbers are not shown in each instance, it's obvious from Pat Eagon Stafford's comments that we are heavily involved.

Lionel Deimel said...


The amount sent to ERD, as reflected on the parochial report (though not listed as a separate item) is indeed $6,640. The discrepancy is $515. This is virtually accounted for by the fact that the parochial report does not include the $500 sent to ERD by ECW (page 43). In fact, none of ECW’s income or expenditures are accounted for. I don’t know what to say about the missing $15.

Again, the amount contributed to the Pat Hurd trip is what was accounted for on the parochial report. I had not considered the statement about the $4,000, however. I just talked to Geoff Hurd on the telephone, who tells me that a total of $5,450 was collected for the project, but not all of it came from St. Paul’s. (Some came from friends and relatives.) Moreover, some amount from St. Paul’s was collected in 2009, not 2010. Geoff said the trip actually cost $2,301. I suspect that these figures, though still a bit fuzzy, are more correct than what is in the Outreach Commission report. An extra $3,148 was given to the Blessed Mustard Seed Babies Home.