There are two significant dates on the calendar next week, and we have something for you for each of them.
First is this Sunday, which is Valentine’s Day. If you come by the church Monday between 11 a.m.-Noon, or 5-6 p.m. we have a special (day after) Valentine’s treat for you.
The next significant day is February 17, which is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. You will be receiving a Lenten packet in the mail that contains a book of Lenten readings, an abbreviated Ash Wednesday at home service, and a small envelope of blessed ashes. We will have an online Ash Wednesday service that evening in place of the usual Compline at 8 p.m. Next week I will share some other online Lenten resources you might find helpful.
For several years Jessy Hamilton has done an excellent job as our social media director, keeping our Facebook page up to date and starting a St. Dunstan’s Instagram page. Now with teaching full time and going to school online full time, he needs to step down. If you are interested in helping us with social media please let me know. (This does not include the website.)
Finally, I’d like to add an explanation to yesterday’s email about St. Dunstan’s generosity to those in need in the community during the pandemic.
We have three different “pots” of money to use for outreach. The first is a line item in our yearly budget, where we commit part of the money we receive in pledges to help others outside the parish. For this year that figure is $15,000.
The second is our outreach endowment, which was established long before I got here. Traditionally we have said that the vestry may disperse money from that fund in excess of $100,000. So if the fund reaches $110,000, then $10,000 is available to use. That fund currently has about $123,000.
The third “pot” is money parishioners give to the church to use for outreach. These are gifts that are distinct from a pledge and not earmarked for the endowment. Right now we have about $8,000 there.
We use all three of these pots in our giving (which is done with vestry approval). For example, in Lent 2020 we raised $55,000 for RIP Medical Debt. The vestry approved spending $25,000 in church outreach funds (primarily from the endowment), and parishioners and friends of St. Dunstan’s contributed $30,000.
The same is true of our support for the food pantries. The vestry established that special fund with $10,000 from our outreach monies. You have — and continue to — make contributions earmarked for the pantry fund. With that money we’ve made financial contributions and shopped for the pantry in weeks that our food donations have been low. There is about $5,000 earmarked for the pantries.
We were able to make the generous donation to Emmaus house to help people who are in danger of eviction because of a special gift we received earmarked to help people who are hurting financially in the pandemic.
That may be more information than you ever wanted to know! But I think it’s important for you to know how your money is being used, and to see that outreach is an important part of what this church does. Of course, we know that outreach is not limited to writing checks, but in this time when “hands on” projects are difficult because of the pandemic we have still been able to help our neighbors in significant ways.
For all of this and for all of you I give thanks.