Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016: A year everything is on the table for Christ Church Cathedral

Over our nearly seven years together at Christ Church Cathedral, we have grown in faithfulness, boldness of proclamation, depth of love and strength of courage. God has been using us in wonderful ways and shaping us for the present moment.

Last month, Chapter passed a budget for 2016 with a deficit of $211,692 ($957,975 in revenue and $1,169,667 in expenses – click here to download a detail of the budget). We have enough unrestricted funds to cover this deficit – but that would be it for deficits. There would be no cushion of unrestricted funds to cover any deficit in 2017 and beyond.  This budget was passed with the provision that it will be reviewed by Chapter quarterly with the possibility of adjustments being made.

This means 2016 is a year of incredible import and opportunity. We need to build on the good work we have done over the past several years and come together around a sustainable vision for the future of Christ Church Cathedral. There is no more next year for the status quo – and that is a great gift. We will step out in faith, put everything on the table, and listen to and follow the call of Christ.

Beginning immediately, we will be addressing this on multiple fronts

*At Sunday’s 10 am Annual Meeting Eucharist, we will begin to re-vision Christ Church Cathedral. We will hear God’s word and participate in exercises in creative thinking, naming our strengths and assets as a Cathedral, and beginning to imagine how we might reconstruct ourselves to make the best use of those strengths and assets to be who Jesus calls us to be with the money we have.

*Chapter will work with the congregation to clarify who we believe Jesus is calling us to be. This will build on the strategic planning work done in the past, offer a chance to reflect on our current direction and define what faithfulness to Christ looks like for the future. This process will take place in Lent, concluding at Easter.  

*Using this data, Chapter will build budget options for 2017 beginning with non-discretionary expenses (e.g. things we have no choice but to pay … like property insurance) and building balanced budget options for staff and program. This will provide a structure for faithfulness to Jesus that represents living within our means. Unless unprecedented revenue streams develop, this means the staff and program of Christ Church Cathedral will likely look much different in 2017 than it does today.

*With assistance from Bishop Smith, we will work with consultants from The Rome Group to gather data, conduct feasibility studies and help us determine the most faithful and sustainable course for the future of the physical plant of the Cathedral, the Bishop Tuttle Memorial Building and the parking lot. The goal is to have a clear course charted and begun by the end of 2016. These are the next steps building on work that has been going on with the Bishop, Diocesan Chancellor and others throughout 2015. 

*We are researching the core documents of the Cathedral endowments to explore any options we might have for use of Cathedral endowment funds. 

*We will continue to search for new and increased revenue streams, including:
            -finding new tenants for the BTM.
            -increasing the Cathedral’s use as a wedding location.
            -using a designated gift to hire a grant researcher/writer.
            -growing Friends of Christ Church Cathedral
            -beginning special funding appeals throughout the year.
            -engaging our neighbors as partners in supporting the ongoing life of the Cathedral.

What ties all of this work together is that our eyes will be firmly fixed on Jesus, who we trust Jesus is calling us to be and what we trust Jesus is calling us to do. We recognize that following the call of Christ means putting everything on the table and usually means letting go of things that are precious to us – again, the Cathedral in 2017 will probably look very different than it does today.  It also means trusting that the community Christ is gathering is equal to the task … and that the very act of coming together and prayerfully charting our future will fulfill our mission of “seeking a deeper relationship with God and each other in Jesus Christ.”

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to refashion an amazing institution to be a force for the Gospel for decades to come.  We are operating from great strength. I am excited to see what comes from it.

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