A financial milestone for St. John’s Cathedral was achieved in 2019. For the first time in decades, we ended the year without a draw from our investment funds to support the operating budget. You read that right – zero draw.
Let’s reflect on how far we have come. Ten years ago, the draw was $419,839. Through the diligence and concentrated efforts of previous wardens, vestries, and staff, the amount has been systematically reduced each year. In 2015, the amount of the draw was $245,645; in 2016, it was $148,700. By 2018, the draw was $40,000. And in 2019, $0.
Before we ask the choir to render the Hallelujah Chorus, however, it’s useful to remind ourselves of some of the reasons for this accomplishment. In the “heavy draw” years, the Cathedral staff included three priests, a Christian Formation director (sometimes it was one of the priests), a publications person, three sextons…and so on. Given the amount of the draws, this was clearly not sustainable. The ship has been “righted” through attrition, watching all expenses carefully, increasing lay volunteer support, and making prudent budgeting decisions.
Going into 2020, we have a solid financial base and platform for growth. You’ve heard us talk about the need for staff support in the areas of Christian formation and administration. While the final stewardship numbers are not in yet, we will likely achieve the “base budget” goal, which does not provide for new staff positions. While we are committed to seeking solutions (think: part-time/hire later in the year/staff adjustments), we will present a budget at the annual meeting with a modest draw (estimated at $40,000). One thing we will not do is draw beyond that, which represents approximately 4% of the investment fund principle.
We will also be asking you to join the many who have increased their pledges for 2020 (thank you, gracias, merci!) if you are blessed with the means to do so. I’m choosing to be positive and trust that we will be able to operate at “full strength” in 2020 and beyond. With God’s help – and yours – the future looks brighter than ever.
-Charlie Hawkins, Senior Warden