Building and Finances during the time of Covid

Building and Finances during the time of Covid

One of the consequences of the current pandemic is that the financial situation of many is, or has become even more, precarious. This is also true for the church as many expenses do not change whether we worship in the building or not.
Many of you have also expressed concern for the state of the building as it is significantly less occupied.

I want to let you know that right now, St. Philip is fine, both our building and our finances. However, we do need your continued support. Please, give what you can, when you can.

Church Finances

Our financial situation is stable in the short term. We have enough money in our checking account to make it through the year (and then some). We have had some unexpected equipment expenses so that we can provide better services online. But overall, our expenses have remained stable. We operate with a small, but essential, staff. As Rector, I am committed to ensuring that we continue to pay our staff what they so richly deserve. We have enough to pay our bills, and support our active food ministries.

However, we have already noticed that pledge giving is lower. This is not a surprise. If you are unable to financially give at this time, do not worry! I understand that you need to care for your families. If you are able to give financially, please mail in your pledge!

As I said at the beginning, give what you can, when you can.

There are two ways to send in your pledge:

  1. You can set up automatic weekly or monthly payments through your bank account. Your bank will send St. Philip a check via the “Bill Payment” feature of your bank account which is free and secure for you and St. Philip. You don’t even need a stamp! To do this, simply add St. Philip as a Payee in your online bill payment service using our address: St. Philip the Deacon, 120 NE Knott St., Portland, OR 97212. You may cancel your monthly payment at any time, either online or by contacting your bank.
  2. You can mail St. Philip a check directly at the address above.

The mail is checked regularly, and deposits are made each week as normal. You may read more (and donate online) on our Giving page.

Clergy Discretionary Fund

A number of you have both asked about and given generously to the Clergy Discretionary Fund. This is money that you entrust to me as the Rector to give as needed to parishioners and neighbors. While I have not yet seen an uptick in requests, as the financial situation grows worse, I expect to see more. If you are able to give to this fund, please do. If you or someone you know needs support, please ask!

Here are some examples of how I have used the money on the past:

  • Filled a tank with gas so a family could get home.
  • Loaned (the loan was their idea) rent money for one month so they could get ahead of the late fees.
  • Bought a bag of groceries (with a few favorite treats) for a shut-in member.
  • Paid for a hotel room with a hot shower for a sick couple.

I do not give out cash at the church (if word of this spread, there would be no money left at all), and I do not do repeat gifts unless there is a significant reason. But the money is available for unexpected situations where people just need a break.

The Building

While our building is less occupied than it was, it is not unoccupied. All the food ministry activities have continued, entirely due to the dedication of our volunteers, and we are working to increase our food capacity as the need is significantly increasing. The staff visits the building regularly to ensure it is well kept. Mike has been doing a great job as Sexton, and BJ and I generally go in at least once a week to attend to the office, check the mail, and chat with neighbors (housed and unhoused).

I want everyone to know that our unhoused neighbors have been invaluable in keeping an eye on our property. They keep a look out for folks coming and going, and when we open our trash bins, they readily help clean up. I am glad we can provide them water (the city has turned off all public water fountains…it is a crisis for many of the unhoused), and a little bit of electricity.

If you have any concerns about finances, the building, or ideas for how to help, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Blessings to you all,
Mother Maria