Contributed by Jane Forbes, Finance Committee Chair

The Finance Committee recently prepared an amended 2020 budget for the parish in order to obtain a better picture of where we are now and to help us prepare for next year.  After reviewing the revised budget, members of the Committee concluded that our financial situation is “very good under the circumstances.”  The circumstances have, of course, been difficult, so we are still facing challenges for the remainder of this year and in 2021.

The amended budget makes both favorable and unfavorable modifications to the one adopted earlier this year.  While some of those changes are substantial, the “bottom lines” of the two budgets are remarkably similar.  The initial budget included about $95,000 more in expenses than income and a prudent withdrawal from investments. The amended budget reduced that shortfall by about $24,000, so it is now projected to be around $71,000.

What is probably most important about these two budgets is not the items that were changed, but those that were not.  The parish is continuing its support of the Diocese and has carried out the Vestry’s decision to use the Easter offerings for outreach to those in need. Pledge revenues through August were very close to budget for the year (something that is often not true in August).  That is good news not only because it means that timely pledge payments are being made, but also because it indicates that the Church is now actually receiving them.

The Vestry has regularly reaffirmed its commitment to continuing the staff employment, so most payroll costs are unchanged.  The staff enabled us to move quickly to create high quality online worship services that include our clergy, choir members and other parishioners and to establish additional innovative worship and educational programs. The staff has also allowed us to carry out other essential functions, including preparing bulletins and newsletters, assisting with grant and loan applications, arranging countless Zoom meetings, going to the bank and the post office, and keeping up with bills and financial reports.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee, with the assistance of building manager, has been able to carry out a full year’s list of projects, including upgrades to the sound system, purchase of new security cameras, replacement of the water heater and repairs to the heating system, gutters, downspouts and roof.  Members of the Committee and the staff have also been working with RAM Construction and the Quinn Evans architectural firm to complete the first phase of repairs to the bell tower and have been preparing for the storm water management improvements and repairs to the sagging floor in the sanctuary, both projects expected to begin in the spring. Recently, members of the clergy and parishioners have interviewed firms to act as fundraising counsel for the capital campaign that will enable us to do that work.

Uncertainties and new financial challenges exist for 2021. The $48,600 the Church received under the federal Payroll Protection Program has been a key factor in creating the better than expected financial results for 2020.  Similar government support next year seems unlikely.  Also, while parking revenues will probably increase gradually as workers return to their offices, it may be several years before the demand for parking returns to last year’s level.  Nonetheless, the work we have been doing to continue our mission during the pandemic and your continuing support put us in a strong position to move ahead once the situation improves.

Christ Church Detroit