St. James Parish
117 Hudson Avenue
Chatham, New York 12037
Annual Financial Report to Parishioners
For Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2021
The Finance Committee presents to you the Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ended (FYE) June 30, 2021. The report provides the operational results for the fiscal year as compared to the prior fiscal year (published in November 2020), an update on major capital projects that have been completed through December 31, 2021, a historical review of regular offertory collections, and a review of weekly mass attendance.
The FYE June 30, 2021 was a very difficult year for the Parish due to the ongoing impact of the COVID pandemic, various capital projects that were required due to the aging of the current facilities, and the reassignment of Fr. George Fleming in January 2021 which resulted in interim leadership until Fr. Steve was appointed in July. The pandemic severely limited mass attendance for regular Sunday masses and the Christmas and Easter holy days and also resulted in mass being cancelled for four weeks in January and February. As a result of these and other factors, the Parish
ended the fiscal year with a net operating deficit of $22,053. As evidenced by the attached Financial Report, this represents a significant change from the prior fiscal year that ended with an operating surplus. The primary reason for this change is the reduction of donor restricted bequests, gifts, and donations.
Factors contributing to the operating deficit are highlighted below.
➢ Overall revenues decreased 20% as compared to the prior year.
o Revenue from the various regular offertory collections (weekly, utilities, holy days, etc.) decreased $22,463 or 10% from the prior fiscal year. This can be attributed to the continuing historical trend of decreased weekly offertory collections and the continuing impact of COVID on attendance. It should be noted that the use by parishioners of online giving has increased significantly and parishioners continue to mail their offertory contributions even though not attending mass.
o Restricted bequests, gifts, donations and capital campaign revenues decreased $42,836 or 46% from the prior fiscal year. This is due to the Parish receiving several significant gifts and bequests in the prior year.
➢ Overall operating expenses increased $19,138 or 7% as compared to the prior year. Major expense incurred that should be noted are:
o Donations made from the Church Poor Box or outreach programs totaling $13,060.
o Capital Projects including Carpet Replacement ($6,399), Church Roof Replacement ($23,500), Church Gutter Installation ($2,131), Church Hot Water Heater Replacement ($1,850), and Church Exit Door Replacement ($5,905).
o Purchase of equipment for livestreaming mass and events ($1,698).
o Colbert House repairs and cleaning ($4,700).
o It should be noted that there were significant reductions in Utilities due to the timing of pre-payment of fuel and Liturgical Expenses due to fewer services, attendance and events.
o The Finance Committee continues to work with the Parish Pastoral Associate for Administration to review operating expenses to identify and eliminate unnecessary costs.
In addition, during the six-month period ending December 31, 2021, it is important to note that the Parish incurred significant costs for major repairs. The Church furnace was replaced ($29,900), the underground fuel tank was removed ($8,912), the Church air conditioning unit needed repairs ($3,682), the Church bells needed repairs ($3,045), and the Church flat roof needed repairs for leakage ($5,500). Fortunately, the cost of the Church furnace and fuel tank removal was covered by a bequest and an insurance claim proceeds. The other major repairs were paid by the Parish operating account.
Historically, the continued generosity (financial, time and talent) of the Parish community, has allowed St. James to provide many programs and initiatives that benefit the Parish and our extended community. However, the Finance Committee is concerned that the current trend of continued decline in weekly offertory collections could jeopardize this commitment. Attached is a chart depicting the historical average weekly offertory collections from 2013 to June 30, 2021. In 2015, in response to a decreasing trend in offertory collections, the Parish instituted an increased offertory collection initiative. This initiative was very successful as the average weekly offertory increased between $500 - $1,000 per week. However, subsequent to 2018, the average weekly offertory collection has declined from $5,478 to $3,434 or 37% through June 30, 2021. For the period July 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 the average declined to $3,200 or an additional 7%. The budgeted target for the current fiscal year is $4,232 per week so the actual offertory is 24% below target. The Committee is exploring options to ensure that funding exists for all current and future parish programs and initiatives and to also meet operating needs. The Committee is requesting that all parishioners revisit and renew their financial commitment to St. James. In addition, the Committee encourages all parishioners to consider using the secure and convenient option for online giving at www.osvhub.com/stjames-chatham/funds
The Committee believes there is a direct correlation between the decline in the offertory collections and mass attendance. A historical review of mass attendance shows that for the period January – April 2016, the average total weekend attendance for Saturday and Sunday mass was 410 people. For the period July – December 2019, the average total weekend attendance for two masses decreased to 298 people or 27%. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic started in March 2020. The Church was closed from March 22, 2020 through the third week in June. Upon reopening on the fourth weekend of June 2020, limited capacity was available and the Saturday evening mass was discontinued. From July through December 2020, the average attendance at
Sunday mass was 68 and from January through June 2021 the average was 95. Seating capacity restrictions were relaxed beginning in July 2021 and the average Sunday mass attendance for July through December 2021 was 132. Although COVID is still a significant issue, concerns are being raised as to why people are not returning to celebrate weekly mass in the Church.
In closing, the Committee would like to thank the entire St. James community for your past and future stewardship (time, talent, and financial). Due to the continued good stewardship, we are able to continue to advance the mission of the St. James Parish. May God bless you and your families.
Fr. Steve Matthews, Pastor, email
Philip Mossman, Finance Committee Chair, email
James Forster, Committee Member
Betty Sundstrom, Committee Member
Janis Wallace, Committee Member
Teresa Ribaneneyra, Committee Member
Mickey Dennis, Trustee