Additional Information as provided by the Congregational Council
Congregational Meeting November 2018
Council has produced additional information outlining factors that might be considered in making the decision and possible options for Holy Cross’ future.
Information Sessions Before the Congregational Meeting
After worship each Sunday different members of the Council will be present in the Fellowship Hall to answer questions and receive feedback. We hope you will grab some coffee from upstairs and head downstairs to discuss this important subject.
Voicing Your Opinion
Council knows that considering the sale of the property can be an emotional time.
We want to allow people the opportunity to publicly voice their opinions in advance of the meeting, to raise questions, and to seek further information required to make a decision at the Congregational Meeting.
Council invites you to submit signed comments to our Council Chairperson (Dianne Maia). Dianne will act as a moderator for the publication of those comments in a newsletter format to be distributed on Sunday mornings and online.
Our Current Status
At the present time Holy Cross is a sustainable congregation.
The offerings of its members are just enough to support Holy Cross’ current programs.
Income & Expenses
We can pay a pastor, music director and admin assistant, maintain the building and buy necessary supplies. Our offerings also provide generous support to the Eastern Synod and national church through benevolence giving and the Canadian Lutheran World Relief.Offerings $150 000 Staff $120 000
Other Income $ 40 000 Property $ 28 000
Benevolence $ 24 000
About 70 families have envelopes. This number has been constant for 5 years.About 40 families give more than $1000 per year.
35% of offerings come from members over 80 years of age.
Holy Cross has no reserves.When we needed to replace the furnace and A/C in the parsonage this summer we were forced to go the rental route because we did not have the funds to purchase the equipment. We have no cash on hand to meet any extraordinary building expenses.
Our membership base is small.Our actual average Sunday attendance for the last year is 45 people.
Finding volunteers to support basic functions like the alter guild, Kids Club and grounds maintenance is becoming more and more difficult. This is driven not only by the small numbers but also as members age they have limited energy.
More and more work is falling on fewer and fewer people.
Your church council does not foresee a growth in membership. Granted, we have a few younger families, but our membership is primarily elderly and as they pass to eternal rest our membership will inevitably decline. Thus, both our pool of volunteers and the financial resources to support our programs will surely diminish.
How Congregations Die
There are many examples in the Eastern Synod where congregations failed to face the fact that they cannot survive in their current form. Numbers, both in people and dollars continued to fall, a pastor could no longer be supported, the buildings decayed from lack of upkeep, a council cannot be found. Depression sets in among the few who are left.Belonging to such a congregation becomes not a blessing but a heavy burden. What should be the joy of Sunday worship becomes the unending worry of who will lead the service, can we afford supplies for communion, is the heat still on.
In response Bishop Pryse has been relentless in saying that the old model of church cannot continue. Congregations must find a way to do church differently. And they must face this issue before, not after, they become unsustainable.
Your church council has heard the Bishop’s message.The council believes we must plan for our eventual closure and we must do this while we still have the people and financial resources to do so.
The question is not “if we must do this” but rather “when will we do it” and “who will do it”.
Considerations for Each Choice
Holy Cross is currently a viable congregation. It still has enough people and enough money to continue as it has for the past 5 years. There has been no significant decline in the number of offering envelopes.
We have enough volunteers with enough energy to continue our current ministries.
Holy Cross is a caring and close Christian family which we want to remain intact.
Some of Holy Cross’ founding members are still with us and they provide a firm foundation of faithful service.
Money Always Appears
Our members will respond with more money when it is needed.
No Need to Rush
We have lots of time to figure out what we want to do if we ever decide to sell our property.
Selling the property without an accepted plan for what we would do as a congregation is like selling a house without knowing where you are going to live or move to. It seems reckless.
Capacity to Plan
The congregation is capable of planning for the future and what it wants to do in the event the property is sold.
Property will have a Future Value
We will always be able to get at least $4.5 million for the property.
$4.5 million would allow us to significantly expand our ministry.
Just the annual earnings of this amount would allow us to totally replace our space, keep a pastor, music director and admin assistant and leave at least $100 000 per year to apply to “in ministry for others”. The only limit would be to our imagination. Among other things we could hire a full-time youth worker, or parish nurse, or fund a homeless shelter, or hire a membership recruitment director, or fund a school nutrition program, or sponsor a refugee family every year or ......
We would have real resources to, as Bishop Pryse often says, “do church differently”.
We would be able to continue doing everything Holy Cross now does and add so much more.
Doing church differently could attract new, younger members.
In essence we would be unlocking the investment 60 years of past Holy Cross members have made in our property to greatly expand our impact in the community.
Need Motivation to Act
Would we actually make a decision without the pressure of a sales condition that stipulates “we have to be out in 2 years”? Probably not. The Hamilton example is instructive. Three congregations even less viable than Holy Cross have been talking for 10 years about “getting together” with no progress. Things started moving only when one congregation sold its property and forced a decision upon itself.
We Have the People to do it Now
We currently have enough people with the energy to undertake a bog project.
In the future, how many of our members will have the energy or the will to throw themselves into planning for a future closure?
A two year period should be plenty of time to decide what we want to do as a congregation and there is much stronger motivation when a deadline is involved.
Will our offerings continue to keep pace with our increased expenses over the next 5 years? Over 35% of current revenue comes from members in their 80s and 90s.
Property May Have a Lower Future Value
The property may not be worth $4.5 million in the future. A change in local zoning or in the flood plain definition or in the real estate market could reduce the value.