An Urgent Letter from the Rev. George Daisa, Rector of the Parish of Saint Patrick
April 23, 2021
Several years ago, one of our beloved parishioners and my friend, Mrs. Bernie Honey, gave our family the beautiful gift of a blooming Apple Blossom amaryllis. The previous winter, Bernie had carefully planted the husky bulb from her own garden into a small clay pot full of dark, rich soil fertilized by her cherished miniature pony, Princess Cheyanne, and she nurtured that bulb with love. Though she could not see the growth beneath the soil, nevertheless, throughout the winter and early spring, Bernie faithfully trusted nature’s process and God’s good providence, until it had grown and blossomed into a trumpet of white and orange and green. Perhaps she trusted the process, in part, because she had experienced the miraculous evidence of her faithfulness and patience before. This wasn’t Bernie’s first time at the amaryllis rodeo.
After the blooms had finally wilted away, we followed Bernie’s instructions and found just the right place for our bulb. And, when the next spring came along we eagerly anticipated the bold trumpet blossom which would announce that spring had come. But nothing happened. No blossom, no trumpet. I shrugged my shoulders and enjoyed the green, waxy leaves, trusting that its blossoms would return the next year. But another year came and went without even the hint of a bloom. I shared my frustration with Bernie, but she reassured me that though it was hibernating beneath the soil, the amaryllis bulb would do its thing again when it was good and ready. Patience, faithfulness and a little water were all that I needed.
We have waited, my friends, for the blooming of a new spring after the long year of isolation and heart ache of a deadly pandemic. We have been patient (mostly) and faithful (with God’s help) as we demonstrated our love for neighbors and family by working to keep the tombs empty. We loved, not just in “word or speech, but in truth and action,” (1 John 3:17a) as we sacrificed and laid down our lives – our comforts and our conveniences – for the good of our friends, families and our communities. And we have sacrificed much.
Saint Patrick’s has weathered the storm of the pandemic and its restrictions with faithfulness and grace, but not without great sacrifice, too. As the weeks turned into months without the ability to be together on Sundays or in classes together or gathering for community events, our church lost critical revenue from many of you who do not pledge but give faithfully on Sunday mornings. We lost crucial contributions from visitors who give when they visit our church, especially at Christmas and Easter. We missed out on a year of facility rental fees from our outreach partners and outside groups who rent our spaces, including the Armenian Church who worship in our church twice a month, all of which supplement our pledged income and fund our ministry budget. Though we immediately tightened our belts and cut all non-essential operating costs, and though we received a pandemic Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan for $30,000, the impact of the pandemic hit us hard. Intent on keeping our staff employed as long as possible, we held out until the end of 2020, but when faced with an $87,000 budget deficit, we had no other choice than to lay off two beloved employees and friends.
Now that we have returned to in-person Sunday worship and continue to reopen for more attendees and anticipate the return of Holy Eucharist for all in-person attendees, things will get better. Our revues will, slowly, return. In the meantime, however, we need your help. I have tried to keep my appeals for increased financial assistance to a minimum, fully aware that there are some in our community for whom the pandemic has meant the loss of income or even their jobs. But, we have come to a critical tipping point and the time for action is now.
I am asking for your help. Saint Patrick’s cannot presently meet its operational or personnel obligations and has, for some time during the pandemic, cautiously and conservatively drawn down its cash reserves in order to supplement our monthly expenses. This is not a permanent or sustainable practice, but it is a necessary one during this challenging time. Perhaps you have had to make difficult choices about drawing on your own savings these last several months to make ends meet, so you can understand our church’s financial position. Perhaps you’ve had to make cuts to your budget and you’ve fallen behind in your pledge. (You’re not alone.) Perhaps you are retired, or live on a fixed income and the pandemic has not affected your financial circumstances. Perhaps you are in a position to give a little more as we transition back to “normal life” in our community. Whatever your financial situation, I’m asking for your help. We need to increase our revenues so we can emerge from this challenging time on solid financial ground. We also need to increase participation again in our Sunday worship ministry teams of ushers and lectors. We need your financial and human resources to reopen and rebuild our community.
Please, if you are able, increase your pledge through the end of the year 2021. Please, if you are able, bring your 2021 pledge to current status. Please, if you are able, consider ushering on Sunday mornings or serving as a reader or supporting the return of our Sunday School Godly Play program at Pentecost. There is much work to be done, but together, with faith, hope and loving action we can meet this challenge. Please keep an eye out in your email inbox for a detailed financial update report from your Vestry.
Evidence of the joy and hope of this resurrection season are in full bloom in and around our beloved
church! After an arduous year of masking, distancing and longing, the seeds of our faith in God’s promise of resurrection and the hope of things yet unseen have taken root in our hearts and lives, and once again, the morning of a new day has broken. I am happy to report that after a two-year hiatus, Bernie’s amaryllis has bloomed again, announcing with flowering trumpets that a new day has come!
In prayerful gratitude,
George+ and the Vestry of the Parish of Saint Patrick
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