Only 21 days into the new year and we've already received our first "send your money now, or else" letter.
Can things be that bad? All we can do is to ask rhetorically, since any detailed information explaining our actual financial condition is unlikely to be forthcoming.
Instead, we read that salaries will remain "unchanged", Archdiocese commitment and utilities will not be "reduced" or "lowered", but youth programs, senior citizens, religious and Greek education programs will suffer. In addition, capital expenditures will also face the same fate.
All this agony because it is perceived that there are those who are "not pledging or giving only a minimal amount" to "send a message". (Interestingly, we were told at the last General Assembly, November 18, 2007, that stewardship was "slightly up". What happened?)
In examining the areas that we are told by our Stewardship Committee will "suffer" if the "message-senders" have their way, we might come to different conclusions as to what (or who) might "suffer".
We offer the following for consideration:
- The senior citizens are financially self-sufficient and require no financial commitment from the community.
- The Greek education program charges tuition to those who participate, making the community's commitment negligible.
- Our youth programs purportedly receive 10% of the festival net income. Further, youth attending the recent GOYA convention in Houston footed their own air fare, hotel and transportation bills.
- That same festival income funds capital expenditures.
On the other hand, our commitment to the Archdiocese has been increased $20,000 for 2008 and salaries have also increased. These are the actual increases directly impacting the operating expenses and rely solely on our stewardship. We might well wonder if some of this increase is to cover the shortfall from the Dallas community's "message-senders".