On Sunday November 13th, our own Esther Hisza will be preaching and the Wardens will be making some specific asks of the congregation as the leadership team begins planning for 2023. Esther will invite us to consider an image of a flower blooming and remind us, “To bloom where we are planted, we need to fertilize our soil.”
In order to prepare for that conversation, Parish Council and the Wardens want to provide you with some background information.
Financially, St Stephen’s has done some things very well.
Yet St Stephen’s continues to struggle with a few things.
The big problem we’re facing in 2023 is that the CTF funds have lost a significant amount and the experts do not predict that to turn around quickly in the new year. There’s a very good chance that the losses in the market will mean that our total asset won’t be large enough for us to pull the $20,000-30,000 we need to balance the budget and sustain a full-time priest. So what are we going to do?
Background Information on the Consolidated Trust Fund
After about a decade of being served by a priest working part-time hours, in 2017, the leadership of St Stephen’s mapped out a plan to return to having a full-time rector. The plan was to use funds from our Consolidated Trust Fund (CTF) holdings to support the extra cost while the parish grew to a size and giving rate that could sustain the additional costs. The Consolidated Trust Fund is an investment fund managed on behalf of parishes and the Diocese of New Westminster. Our money invested there includes some bequests, retained earnings, and the proceeds of the sale of the rectory ($89,161). The proceeds of the rectory sale require permission from Diocesan Council to use; we refer to them as “restricted funds.” Earnings from the sale of rectories are often used to support clergy compensation. St Stephen’s has also used its holdings in the CTF as our primary source of funds for large building projects. The original 2017 plan called for a total withdrawal of $135,000 from the CTF over 4 years and has been revised as we have moved through those years. We have aimed to keep the total withdrawal at the same $135,000 while not removing more money than we needed to. through 2021 the CTF’s earnings were actually covering what we were withdrawing. However, with the market downturn in 2022, things are not looking as good.
As of September 30th, 2022, the value of our CTF funds was $172,365. Because $89,161 is restricted, that leaves us with a balance of $83,204 available to use going into 2023. If the markets continue to lose funds, that sum will continue to drop. The losses in the Consolidated Trust Fund impact many parishes in our Diocese. We have reached out to diocesan leadership to alert them to our concerns. As stated above, the Wardens and Parish Council will be gathering your financial intentions for 2023 to build a budget. There will be members of our finance committee available on Sunday, November 6th and throughout the month to answer questions and discuss our options.