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Vicar's Musings for the Second Sunday in Lent

12 March, 2017

The St Peter's 2016-18 Mission Action Plan (MAP) focuses on seven ministry areas, through which we are seeking to "Grow in God's Love" as a parish: Catholic Evangelism, Pastoral Care, Children and Youth, Anglo-Catholicism, Faith Development, Social Justice and Stewardship. Over past weeks the Vicar's Musings has been reflecting on each of these in turn.

Last but not least is the seventh of our MAP ministry areas: "stewardship: managing our church resources responsibly". The Parish Council has set three concrete stewardship goals (a) working towards a balanced budget in 2018 (b) maintaining and improving control of expenses (c) generating further income.

It costs around $2,300 a day to sustain the mission and ministry of St Peter's Eastern Hill. The biggest expense is our people. Our lay staff — including the Administrator, Bookroom Manager, Musicians and Sacristan — draw wages of a little over $250,000. The current clergy costs total around $180,000 for a full-time Vicar and two part-time Assistants, with the Chaplain to the Lazarus Centre being funded entirely through the Foundation and Anglicare. Other Parish Support expenses (including $35,000 that we pay to the Diocese of Melbourne) total $113,000; and it costs a further $177,000 to cover such things as electricity, gas, tax, rates, cleaning, insurance and property maintenance. Our total expenses for the 2016-17 period are projected to be $862,000 including the Bookroom cost of sales.

The parish income is derived from two main sources: Church Ministries and Commercial. The generous giving of parishioners amounts to around $150,000 per year, and this amount has increased significantly over the past few years. As Vicar of the parish, and on behalf of the Wardens and the Parish Council, I want to express our profound thanks to all those who give so generously to the work of St Peter's, whether by the widow's mite or the big cheque. Thank you. Your support for the building up of God's kingdom in this place is deeply appreciated. Other Church Ministries income, such as wedding fees, donations and grants bring this total to around $350,000. In addition, we are blessed with the ability to generate a Commercial income of around $377,000 for the parish from such things as Hall and Keble House rental, Bookroom sales, and investment dividends. The total budgeted income of $831,000 falls short of the projected 2016-17 expenses, which will need to be met by drawing down on investments. Hence the primary MAP stewardship goal of working towards a balanced budget.

One major structural change being considered by Parish Council is to reduce the clergy staffing to 1.5 from 2.0 EFT following Bp Graeme's retirement in June 2017. Another has been the move of the Parish Office, which increases our commercial income by $23,000 per annum; and we are looking at further ways of making better use of the Parish Hall and so increasing our rental income in the next year or two.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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