Dear Friends,

In today’s readings we hear in Exodus how God physically feeds the Israelites with bread in the desert and in John’s Gospel how God spiritually feeds us with Jesus “…the bread of life…” Since beginning work here at St Francis some 10 years ago, I am continually challenged to grow in my spirituality; but the nature of my job as Director of Parish Operations also makes me realize that we still live in a physical world. We need to be fed in both ways.

Today is Accountability Sunday. Please join me in extending our appreciation to Bob Randolph, Chair of our Finance Council for his accounting of our financial results for FY11-12 and for our Finance Council as financial stewards of our parish. As Bob pointed out and as elaborated in our Parish Annual Report, we had several successes such as paying in full our school construction loan three years early while committing a portion of our short term savings to cover a shortfall in GIFT pledge realization.

About 68% of our membership supports parish offertory with a recognizable annual sacrificial gift. During a lingering, deep recession we are most grateful for your continued support of our parish and our mission to grow in Holiness, offer Hope to those who hunger for human dignity and extend Hospitality to all. We remain committed to live within our financial means.

As I look to the new fiscal year FY12-13, there are four items I would like you to consider:

Provide your full and active support to this year’s Annual Offertory Pledge Appeal beginning the weekend of August 25/26. Although our offertory grew by 2.5% last year, we need to sustain this growth for the next three years in order to cover our capital debt and maintenance needs as we conclude our GIFT capital donations.

If you made a pledge to our GIFT Capital Campaign and have not fulfilled your pledge, please do so or contact Sue Mathys at sue.mathys@stfrancisraleigh.org with your intentions. If you are still paying on your agreed schedule, please continue to do so; otherwise it would be most helpful to close out your pledge in a prayerful and thoughtful manner.

Last year we increased parishioner use of Electronic Giving to 25% of monthly offertory. I strongly urge you to consider taking advantage of this safe, convenient method for meeting your financial commitments to the parish. Please contact pat.kowite@stfrancisraleigh.org for additional information.

Our monthly mortgage debt reduction program using the designated envelope provides the opportunity to make early loan principal payments, thus generating significant savings in loan interest which can be used in other more productive ways.

When I consider my sacrificial giving, I am awed by the notion that all I am and all I have comes from God and how much I need to receive “…the bread of life…” But I am also aware of God’s gift of bread in my daily life and how I will use my God given gifts of Time, Talent, and Treasure.

Thank you for your most generous support and dedication to our parish mission.
Peace and all good,

Ben Whitehouse,
Director of Parish Operations