Wednesday, July 28 2021
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Treasurer’s Report to the Vestry
July 22, 2021
The regular monthly meeting of the Finance Committee was held on July 20th. Joining me were members Andrew Bird, Fawn Hacker, R.C. Laird, and Lou McMillan. Also, Bob LeRoy joined the meeting as a guest. We reviewed our current financial condition and plans to address our operating deficit and generate additional revenue. The Budget Report and Statement of Financial Position for June 2021 accompany this report.
Cash Balance at the Beginning of June
The total cash balance in the checking and savings account at the beginning of June 2021 was $323,823.48 of which only $82,936.19 is in the operating fund.
June’s individual contributions were below budget year-to-date by $3,580.29 (-2.9%), including income from pledges being under budget by -$9,709 (48.6%) and loose plate offerings below budget by -$152.67 (-13.1%). Total income for June was -$9,798 (46.9%) of the budget at $11,085.40. This brings the year-to-date total income to $128,911.34.
June’s expenses were -$14,877.40 below the Budget of $37,853.22 due to various causes. One of the main causes is a billing error with the Church Pension Group which was resolved in July.
Net Other Income
The PPP Round 2 conversion from loan to income posted in June in the amount of $63,367.50.
Cash Balance at the End of June
The total cash balance in the checking and saving accounts at the end of June 2021 was $309,934.08 of which only $38,496.79 is in the operating fund.
Troy L. Atwell, MBA, Treasurer
Wednesday, July 28 2021
Greetings, St. John’s | San Juan Family! Happy Summer!
The Vestry had a great meeting on Thursday, July 22, and others from that meeting will be reporting on what’s happening with the renovation and finances. I cannot add to their reports, other to say that everyone is doing a great job. I do want to report, however, on the happenings with the July Jumble!
We began our work on Monday, July 24, by accepting donations from those who have been waiting for this opportunity to move possessions along for over a year – I’m sure being quarantined spurred folks to go through their “stuff!” Thank You! to everyone who saved and donated items to the Jumble! There were so very many donations – truck after car after van, they just kept coming! Someone commented on Monday that more donations were made on this Monday than were made on any previous Monday of Jumble week. Certainly a preview of what the week was going to be like, and we weren’t disappointed!
Once items were received, we unpacked and sorted through them to decide onto which table these treasures needed to be displayed. There were many tables! As many as the Parish Hall could hold! There were at least five tables filled with only books, more tables with kitchen & dining wares, housewares, toys and games and children’s items, all kinds of craft items, and things for our pets. Finally, we had tables full of items more suitable for men, like sporting goods and car things. Since the Jumble was usually held in June, there was always a table for Father’s Day items, and we continued the tradition albeit too late for Father’s Day 2021.
Our work continued throughout the week as new volunteers came and went depending on when they were available to help. I decided early on that I would just work every day, all day, and so I did. Wow, did I get my steps in every day without even trying! I was tired and sore each evening since I am not used to standing all day, but I was also very invigorated by getting to know other women (mostly) from St. John’s | San Juan, and that feeling of camaraderie while working together just can’t be beat. Looking back, it hardly seemed like work at all, because we felt useful and helpful and enjoyed just being together and focused on a goal!
Adele Roberts (a Vestry member) and Lin Hampton (Busy Bees chair), who jointly directed this Jumble, are the most amazing women! They’re dedication to our community and their willingness to do this, is evidence of their love of St. John’s | San Juan. They had decided that only those items that seemed truly special would be priced, while all other merchandise could be purchased by donation – the buyer would decide what they wanted to pay. The plan worked brilliantly!
Saturday arrived, and the doors officially opened at 9:00 a.m. Except for the first group through the door, there was never a line of folks waiting to get inside. Most who entered were very willing to wear a mask – there were only a handful of folks who chose not to be masked. Buyers were very generous with their donations. We earned over $2,000 in this Jumble and still had an amazing amount of stuff to “get rid of.”
On Sunday, after those who attended church in person “shopped,” the Jumble crew started packing up and organizing for the next place all our “extras” were to go. We only worked for a little while on Sunday, but were back at it again on Monday morning! Adele was in contact with City Gates, an organization that helps people move into a first place after being homeless. They took all the basic home items – dishes, cutlery, pots and pans, glasses, sheets, blankets, pillows, and since St. John’s | San Juan wasn’t doing clothing, anything we received, Adele took for them. The books that remained were packed up and put into a parishioner’s garage to await their final delivery to a used book store in Tacoma that will purchase them! The bulk of the remaining rummage was packed up and delivered to Value Village – we did two van-loads and two SUV-loads. Since it was a Monday, Value Village was hopping! Thank you very much to the men who packed my van (Michael Clifthorne and George Knotts), they certainly knew what they were doing! My “Lady Garnet” was loaded to the gunwales and I could only see out my side mirrors. These guys made sure that when I stopped or started, nothing moved, since everything was packed so tightly!!
As we were packing up, we kept looking for boxes to fill. When everything was finally done and we were gathering together all that remained, there were more boxes. Kathy mentioned that like the story of the loaves and fishes in the feeding of the 5,000, we also had leftovers. The Lord had provided for everything and there were still extra boxes to use!
I even learned something I didn’t know before about the Parish Hall! Did you know that outside the Children’s Library there is an old “dumb waiter” that currently stores card tables? I didn’t know that! I also discovered that the kitchen and the storage room across the hall are full of “stuff” that needs to be evaluated about whether or not they will ever be used again so choices can be made about their fate. So many extra decisions since the arrival of Covid! During the slack times between donations, Adele was trying to organize the kitchen cabinets – a massive undertaking! If anyone has a desire to help clean up the kitchen, please let Adele know.
Today, Tuesday, Adele and Lin are hosting a thank you lunch for everyone who worked at the July Jumble. We will talk and laugh and reminisce about what a wonderful time we all had! Being a community is so important, especially in these crazy times. Thank you to everyone who helped make this July Jumble a success, and especially to Adele and Lin and Mark and Nancy and Mary Jane and Nicki and Dan and Meredith and Kathy and Lucy and Mary and Sandy and Mary and Michael and Terri and Sue and Jenny and Jessica and Sherry and George and many more whose names have fallen out of my brain.
I am so glad to have been able to help with this event and to get to know each of you just a little bit better. Please, if you are in need of anything, let me know. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell phone (360) 259-5933. Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful August!
Wednesday, July 28 2021
It’s been a very full month at St. John’s | San Juan. July saw our 2021 Jumble, which was pushed to July to give us time to organize and prepare for a garage sale in a pandemic. The event was a terrific success, with over $2,000 being raised, to be split between the Busy Bees, a longtime organization of St. John’s which supports education and advocacy for women and girls, and the building fund at St. John’s, as we prepare for the seismic retrofitting that will precede replacing our roof.
The Executive Committee has worked tirelessly this month meeting with folks from the Board of Directors of the Diocese of Olympia (the governing body which oversees the Diocesan Building Fund), and members of the Standing Committee (who are canonically charged with signing off whenever a parish takes out a loan). This is leading toward our application being reviewed first by the Joint Finance Panel (JFP), who make recommendations to the Board of Directors, with whom we will meet on August 19. After that meeting, we’ll know a lot more about the timeline for our project, and what to expect going forward.
One thing we do know at this point is that we will have to move the Möller organ out of the organ loft before the seismic work can begin. The Möller, which was the first organ installed in our church, will have to be removed pipe by pipe, first through the hatch in the Sacristy ceiling, and then once we get to the bigger items, down scaffolding that will have to be erected in the chancel. We haven’t been able to find a taker for the organ (though we’ve offered it to just about everyone we can think of, and free of charge at that), so we’re looking at what other options there are for a new life for it. Möller was prolific; they built over 12,000 instruments in over a century of building. Most of these instruments, like ours, need considerable work to be refurbished every few generations. Even if we gave our organ to another congregation, it would still require more than $50,000 of work to be restored and fully usable again. Sadly, there isn’t any demand for an organ like ours, so we’re looking at creative options for its use going forward.
We were sad to say good-bye to Tieran Sweeny-Bender this month, as he prepares to finish his undergraduate degree in the fall. We sent him back to school with the gift of Accordance, the premier Bible study software suite, so he can focus on his thesis, which will be on the Revelation to John. And we have welcomed Alessandra Portaro as our new administrator, who is quickly learning the ropes and getting settled in, including editing this month’s edition of The Chronicle.
I had hoped that we would be able to start sharing the common cup at Communion again in August, but unfortunately the newest guidelines from the CDC, which were sent out on Tuesday, will likely slow us down in doing so. It’s hard to see how we can both keep our masks on, and also stand right in front of someone to drink from a cup that they hand to us. It is my fondest hope that the transmission rates in Thurston County decline, and we will be able to return to using the common cup again soon.
In the meantime, blessings to you and yours, and I look forward to seeing you at church!
Wednesday, July 28 2021
St. John’s | San Juan Episcopal Church
Stewardship Report for The Chronicle
As the first step in developing a comprehensive program for stewardship and community and financial development for St. John’s | San Juan, the initial meeting of our new Stewardship Committee was held on July 8, 2021. Members of the Committee include Judy Bartels, Caitlin Bird, Sarah Clifthorne, Anne Hall, Bob Le Roy, Pat Le Roy, and Andre Unicume. The Committee discussed and began planning for the following activities:
Bob Le Roy, Stewardship Chair
Tuesday, June 22 2021
This month’s edition of The Chronicle is the final one that our parish administrator Tieran Sweeny-Bender will be editing for us, and we offer our deepest thanks to him for all of his hard work during the last seven months! Tieran joined us in December, working remotely from his home in Seattle since the pandemic forced the closure of the church office. He has truly been an asset to St. John’s | San Juan in the time he’s been with us, and we wish him all the best in his last year of college and whatever the future holds beyond that!
The last month has been a whirlwind for us at St. John’s | San Juan. We completed a successful capital campaign, and have been working through the details on moving forward with our building project. The outrageous spike in the cost of building materials has given us pause (making the bid for the project from our general contractor almost three times as much as the estimate was at the end of last year), and we are regrouping, getting input from the governing bodies of the Diocese, as well as figuring out what is possible with FORMA and our architects at KMB.
At the same time, we are continuing to resume in-person ministries, having resumed the Sunday Eucharist in both English and Spanish both in-person and online, and now having re-opened the Wednesday Eucharist for in-person worship as well (though space is limited, since there’s no ventilation in the Chapel). Once Thurston County moves to Phase 4 of the Healthy Washington plan, we will evaluate the guidance from offices of both the Governor and our Bishop, and make plans for resuming more of our in-person ministries. In the meantime, the in-person ministries we have already resumed will continue, and we look forward to resuming more of them in the near future.
Thank you for your patience as we work through all these details. We definitely have glimpses of what life will be like when the pandemic is fully behind us, and I’m as eager as anyone for us to just be there already. But we have further yet to travel, even as the end is in sight. Thank you for being part of this journey with us, and I look forward to seeing you again soon at church.
Tuesday, June 22 2021
Welcome to the first week of Summer! If the temperatures predicted for this weekend are any indication of how my summer will go, I should be completely melted by July 4!
If you were not in church or did not live stream the service on June 20th, what I say may be new to you. My apologies for repeating what those who were at church or who did stream the service heard. Here’s most of what I said:
I am here to tell you that we have finally received the actual bid for replacing the roof. To say that we were (and continue to be) flabbergasted is totally accurate! You know that feeling when you wait and wait for something, and then you actually find out what it is, you are so stunned that you cannot wrap your mind around what’s happened? Well, that’s what those of us on the Vestry executive team felt on Saturday when Lou shared the actual bid for replacing the roof.
WOW! Please make sure you’re sitting down and take a deep breath before reading on…
The bid is almost double the figure that the Vestry and the Capital Campaign have been using for the past year. We are now looking at $1,825,000 for just Phase I of our renovation (versus the figure of $1.2 million we had been using). The amount covers the roof, the seismic upgrades and basic electrical work. With sales tax, the total exceeds $2 million. Much of the increase is because of supply issues created by the Covid pandemic. Steel, wood and insulation product costs have skyrocketed! For instance, one sheet of ½” plywood now sells for over $80, and you know, there’s a lot of wood in our roof!
Oh, and if that’s not enough, this bid does not include anything for the Phase II renovation of the worship space.
I know this is a lot to grasp. It’s taken Vestry leadership a few days to work through the ramifications of this news through emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings, and finally to brainstorming options. And, at the Vestry meeting on June 17, the Vestry itself came to the same conclusions as the leadership team and supports the next moves.
Holy moly, we need to talk! And I’m here to say that the best place to get totally informed will be at the Congregational Meeting scheduled for this Thursday evening, June 24, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. This second meeting, originally planned to talk about our budget and shortfalls therein, has been appropriated by the matter of the roof. Please, your presence at this meeting is vital to understanding the path the Vestry is considering and to be informed on where we hope to go from here. I’m sure others in this Chronicle edition will also be talking about these issues. Registration options are many: through the Realm App; in the recent Messenger newsletters; and also by clicking here.
Your prayers for St. John’s | San Juan, for our Capital Campaign committee, and for guidance for the Vestry are very welcome. I look forward to seeing you on Thursday evening!
Blessings & peace!
Tuesday, June 22 2021
Junior Warden’s Report – June 2021 Chronicle
“The building needs work. You gotta get a new roof, and all sorts of infrastructure. While those things may not sound important to some, they are the house that help
For you, the roof, and all that it represents in terms of the building, can help to make the difference…”
– Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Discernment & Decision
Part I Bid
* The original estimate did not break out electrical separately, it was assumed in the roof estimate.
Why so much higher? How could we have been so far off?
Some context may help here. Material shortages due to the COVID economy, plus pent-up construction demand, have caused prices for building commodities to sky-rocket. Lumber, steel, and rigid insulation are up 300-500%. For example, half- inch plywood now sells for over $80 a sheet at your local big box store.
In addition, wait times for delivery of some materials exceed three months. Ongoing delays and price volatility have contractors passing on any significant (greater than 10%) commodity price increases to the client, meaning prices could go higher even after the bid is accepted and the contract signed.
Obviously, $2M is a staggering sum, almost double the total of our capital campaign pledges. Because it’s well beyond our actual or projected resources, this bid compels us to review and revise our strategy for the renovation.
As the Treasurer’s June report notes, of the $1.1 million received in pledges, $315,000 applies to project costs and fees already incurred. That leaves only $791,000 available to pay either future project expenses or debt service on a loan.
And remember, the Part II remodel we estimated at $600,000 has yet to be fully designed, then priced. KMB’s initial design fee proposal, which as is we cannot accept, tops $200,000. We’re not sure yet what that implies for construction cost.
Yet, it’s conceivable under current market conditions that the total cost of full renovation – Parts I and II combined – could approach $3 million. So, even with our $1.1 million in pledges, plus that much again from a loan, we may still face a daunting funding shortfall.
Options Being Considered
It’s possible market conditions reverse themselves enough over time that prices fall back to more customary and affordable levels. Of course, this is speculation, and whatever reductions happen may not change our predicament substantially.
While waiting does buy us time, not proceeding with any construction this year means forfeiture of our $13,000 building permit, plus additional costs for seismic upgrades that must comply with a stricter building code adopted earlier this year.
And it may oblige us to offer to return capital pledges to donors who want them back. While the right thing to do, returning pledges effectively undoes much of our recent fund raising success. Eventually, we may decide to conduct another capital campaign in a post-pandemic market place and economy that may, or may not, yield much better pricing.
This options offers two immediate benefits:
o Stabilizes the structure against catastrophic damage in an earthquake
By adding $213,000 to the already considerable amount invested to-date on the renovation, this option has potential risk too. If we eventually find
Aside from what each option would do or not do, think of them as tactical retreats to mitigate the risk of current market extremes, and to buy time to seek further guidance and possible help from the diocese.
Aside from diocesan financial support, assuming it has capacity and willingness to supplement our congregation’s sacrificial giving, we may qualify for other grants or loans from national organizations. The National Fund for Sacred Places makes construction grants to eligible houses of worship nationwide, and the Episcopal Church Building Fund offers construction loans nationally. There may be other programs as well. Having the luxury of extra time allows us to discern whether any of these programs offer benefits sufficient to warrant the time and effort of application.
We Need to Hear from You!
Please plan to attend and contribute to the Parish Budget Meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 24, at 7PM on Zoom. The agenda will focus on the renovation bid and finance options. Besides informing you, your input is vital to understanding how to discern the best path forward.
Tuesday, June 22 2021
St. John’s Episcopal Church
This will be my final report as your Treasurer. I want to thank you for your support, good questions, and continuing commitment to leading our congregation through some complex challenges on our way to a vibrant and sustainable future. Please join me in thanking and welcoming Troy Atwell, our new Treasurer. I look forward to working with you in my new role focused on stewardship and community and financial development.
Our Current Financial Condition
Our Budget Report and Statement of Financial Position for May 2021, as well as an updated Plan to Address the Deficit and Increase Revenue July through December 2021 and Beyond, may be found by going to our website, www.stjohnsoly.org, clicking on “About Us”, then clicking on “Our Vestry” and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
Individual Contributions are over budget year-to-date by $5,681 (5.6%), including Income from Pledges over budget by $9,029 (9.5%) and Contributions/Loose Plate Offerings below budget by -$4,009 (68.7%). It is concerning to note that in May, Pledges were below budget for the month by -$5,929 (31.4%).
Capital Campaign Update
Currently, we have secured 70 pledges and accounted for $1,106,617 toward our campaign goal, of which $315,000 has been applied to fees and costs of the project and $791,617 in gifts and pledges is available to apply to future expenses or as collateral for a loan to provide the additional funds needed to complete the work and service the debt resulting from the loan. As of June 15, 2021, the balance in our Capital Campaign Account at Commencement Bank is $149,067.
Tuesday, May 25 2021
Welcome to the May edition of The Chronicle. Happy Pentecost! It has been so wonderful to see the Holy Spirit doing incredible work in this place! Our Capital Campaign, Sing to the Lord a New Song, finished on Pentecost Sunday and we raised over $1 million! Thank you to everyone who pledged to the campaign. If you would still like to make a pledge, there is still time! You can pledge from the capital campaign website (anewsongforstjohns.org).
In-person worship has continued through Eastertide and what a joy it has been to get to be able to worship in-person together and see each other’s faces. We are still awaiting more guidance from the Bishop’s Office about how to move forward with the CDC’s new guidelines for fully vaccinated people. For now, we will continue to follow the same distancing and masking guidelines that we have been using since we resumed in-person services. Thank you for your patience as we continue to adjust to this new part of the pandemic.
Two things to draw your attention to: the vestry will be hosting two zoom calls, on June 9 and June 23, at 7 pm, to share the details of their plan to address this year’s budget deficit, and to get your input on that plan. Our treasurer, Bob Le Roy, has written about this plan below, and I hope you will read his letter fully and prayerfully. The second thing to look for is the letter from our Junior Warden, Lou MacMillan, addressing issues around the timeline for the renovation work that the capital campaign funded and the completion of the process to receive bridge funding from the diocese. I commend that letter to your careful attention as well.
Bob and Lou have both been working incredible hours on behalf of St. John’s | San Juan, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude that we can never repay. If you see them around, please be sure to thank them for all that they have done for our community.
It’s an exciting and Spirit-filled time to be part of St. John’s | San Juan! I’m so glad you’re with us for this adventure!
Tuesday, May 25 2021
Although I have lived in Washington since early 1983, I have never truly taken proper notice of the movement of the sun as it journeys northward across the spring sky to set in the northwest. Being from Hawaii, where the sun doesn’t seem to move this significantly, I am so totally astonished by it. When we first moved to our current dwelling in late December, the sun was far to my left (south) as I looked out my window. Last night, it was far to my right (north) out the same window. WOW! This world is so amazing! I’ll be sure to continue watching and noticing the position of the sun through the entire year!
Truth be told, I have never been totally comfortable with the cardinal directions. I do much better with landmarks. I guess it’s because in Hawaii, we rarely use those directions, preferring instead to refer to the mountains (mauka) or the ocean (makai). The use of these directions doesn’t matter where on the island you are, the mountains and the ocean are immovable. Then, depending on where you were headed, we use place names, like Pearl Harbor (indicating west from Honolulu) or Hawaii Kai (indicating east from Honolulu) or Kaneohe-Kailua (indicating that you have to go around or through the Ko’olau mountains to get there. We’re also big on windward and leeward. I can remember getting onto the H1 Freeway and not knowing which way I wanted to go, east or west – can’t tell you how many times (in the beginning) I got on the freeway going in the opposite direction of what I really wanted. Doesn’t matter where I live, I’m usually second guessing myself about which way I really need to go.
That reminds me of an Up With People song I used to perform in the late 1960s with Sing-Out Hawai’i and with Up With People (International cast B). The song is called, “Which Way America,” and asks which way this nation should be heading. Relevant even today. Fascinating note, Glenn Close helped write this song way back in 1965, before she was an actor. Interestingly, she calls UWP a cult, having been raised in it from age 7 until she broke free at 22. It probably was a cult in those early days of the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) movement. I was in it for the singing, not so much their message, although I’m sure I was affected by all their “Absolutes.”
The St. John’s | San Juan Capital Campaign, Sing to the Lord a New Song! has reached the goal set for the campaign which officially ended on Pentecost. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to send in a pledge card! This is a complicated time to be doing construction, but with the help of our Heavenly Father, we will have enough to proceed. Look for other articles in this Chronicle about the campaign and where we go from here.
We had a very good Vestry meeting last week Thursday. There are so many moving pieces to the renovation project that I thank God for the wonderful members guiding all the parts. Thank you especially to Father R.C., Junior Warden Lou MacMillan, and Treasurer Bob LeRoy, who share these shepherding responsibilities.
I’m still excited about being in the church for services! It’s also been wonderful to be able to have funeral services again to give families/friends that closure which has been lacking during this time of pandemic. I may be even more excited when we are out of the sanctuary and the roofing/seismic work has begun.
Our Bible Study group continues to meet. We will soon be choosing a novel to read over the summer. Please join us if you can, or if 1:00 p.m. on Thursdays doesn’t work for you, please let someone at the church know a good day and time, when YOU could be there. My St. John’s | San Juan email is email@example.com. Or call me at (360) 259-5933 and leave a message – I will call you back.
I’m still thinking about which way I’m heading; which way I need to go. Since the Holy Spirit came with wind and fire on Pentecost, and is a new beginning, I’m hoping to find more truth and life from here forward. The renewal of our baptismal vows always makes me think harder about the way, the truth, the light, the life.
Thanks for reading my ramblings and for being so supportive! Remember to contact me with any concerns, comments, or issues. My information is shown above. Have a wonderful week and enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend! I look forward to seeing you and worshiping with you soon at St. John’s | San Juan!