Dear Fr. Zagloba,
I know. I do have a tendency to look at almonology from a theological rather than practical perspective.
Sometimes you need to know the “why” before you talk about the “how”. So, let’s talk about that new roof.
Let’s first admit that this is a problem you inherited. Your predecessor, Fr. Ryan, loved his parishioners, and his parishioners love him. However, he did not keep up with the financial management side of things because that just wasn’t his particular gift. That part of the plan was left out.
I’m not saying this as a mark against him. As an example, look to the apostles. They started the diaconate so they could focus more on pastoring and less on administration. No one is good at everything.
Back to our situation. You now have the responsibility to raise the money to fix the roof and to take care of the multitude of other ‘deferred maintenance’ issues that are beginning to crop up.
Along with this, the finance council has started a list, and it is pretty lengthy. Not to worry! God created everything out of nothing. Roofs and carpets are easy compared to that.
So where to start?
Yes, faith and prudence CAN work together (when you are planning with God in mind)
Waiting to raise money for the roof until you have to put out buckets is kind of like waiting until the house is on fire to blow out the candles. It’s easier if you act earlier. That is why planning is so important.
Fr. Ryan used to say that we just had to have faith that God would provide the money when we needed it. I think he is absolutely correct in principle, but I, if I may humble do so, disagree with his approach.
Faith and prudence can (and really should) work together. Faith says that God can provide. [Philippians 4:19] Prudence says that planning in advance and saving money to pay for repairs is a good way to avoid a constant state of crisis. [Luke 14:28-32 and Proverbs 6:6-11]
An example of this from my own life…
My wife and I drive old cars. They’re paid off, but they break down from time to time. I pull a small amount from every paycheck and set it aside for car repair.
A while ago, the radiator on my truck blew up, and it was going to cost $500 to fix it. I checked our ‘car repair’ account, and it had $510 saved up. No crisis. God provided $50 a month for ten months to give me the money that I needed to fix my truck at the exact moment that I needed it.
We’re not just rebuilding buildings, we’re rebuilding trust
Fixing a roof is not a capital campaign. A capital campaign is building something new that people can really get excited about. Roof repair is raising money to pay for deferred maintenance, so it requires a different approach.
It’s kind of hard to get people excited about fixing the roof, especially since it has been an obvious need for such a long time.
I think that when planning your next fundraiser, we should start with laying out a new vision for maintaining the parish. People loved Fr. Ryan, so they forgave the fact that the grounds weren’t taken care of and that the buildings were starting to show their age.
But this is their church. If you ask people, they’ll tell you that it was discouraging to see the church starting to get run down. With this knowledge, you will want to be prudent and set up the right structures that guarantee the parish is well taken care of in the future.
Speaking of prudence, my wife is calling me to dinner. It is prudent to listen to the call. I’ll gather my thoughts for a few days on how I think we should approach the roof.
Nathan, the Almoner