The recent Parish Meeting to primarily discuss the Financial Statement (which can still be accessed on our website) was very well-attended. About 70 people learned about the suggestions made by our Finance Committee to address our deficit position. They also had the opportunity to air concerns and ask questions in an open, transparent forum.

The primary recommendation from the Finance Committee is two-pronged: Increase the number of parishioners who contribute using WeShare from the approximately 134 now, and secondly, for those who are able, to increase weekly contributions by 25 percent. For example, can a $10-per-week donation become $12.50?

As an incentive with an element of fun, anonymous parishioners will be donating gift cards in varying amounts to be raffled on Sunday, April 2, if certain benchmarks are reached. Should the number of WeShare users increase from 134 to 150 by March 31, then three $100 gift cards will be raffled among all WeShare participants. If the number hits 175, then it’s three $200 gift cards. At 200 WeShare users, the drawing jumps to three $300 gift cards instead. If the donor number reaches 200 AND average contributions increase by 25 percent (total contributions for the month of March must be at least $32,400), then there could be as many as 12 $300 gift cards.

Assistance with WeShare signup will be available. And when contributions are made, donors have the option to cover the 2.5% processing fee charged.

Many churches are facing the same challenges as St. Paul’s: Insufficient income, declining number of younger families and a limited number of volunteers chief among them. While none of these will be solved overnight, the turnout at last week’s meeting is a strong sign of hope for the future.