On Being a House of Prayer in the Village2015 Narrative Budget
Some years ago I started calling Saint Luke’s a “Village Church,” and by this I mean we are a large church with village sensibilities. True, we are blessed with members within walking distance and with the amenities of our own charming village.
But the idea of a Village Church was always meant to convey more. For starters, we are a village here; we raise our children together whether we have children or not. We care for our seniors and honor the past while always trying to innovate and reach new people. With the advent of mapping technologies making our church easy to find, we are offering the “village experience” to visitors from all over the city. Social media reaches thousands. It seems our “village” has grown into Birmingham and beyond.
Simply put, I sensed that many people, different people from all walks of life wanted to access and enjoy our village experience, whether by using the playground or attending a concert or trying out “The Word,” or sipping water from the runners’ cooler out front.
As it turned out, you took me up on the idea! Our parking lot is rarely empty; our building is used each day for classes and meetings and meals, and programs for members and the community at large.
You also need to know that our building is showing signs of wear as a result. The renovation of 1994 was a long time ago. A committee is in place to assess what we need, and I ask that we all anticipate a Capital Campaign in 2016.
It is my hope that this narrative budget will offer another look at our amazing church. We have accomplished much, and we are still growing! Join me in praying for Saint Luke’s as we continue to take our village into a waiting and hungry world.
After all, this village has a name. We call it the Kingdom of God.
To be an open, inviting, and serving community in which Jesus Christ is the center of our life and the gospel is modeled and proclaimed in Word and Sacrament.
Village Music & Worship
Whether ancient or modern, music is the heart of our worship at Saint Luke’s. Blessed with the finest musicians and choirs during both morning and evening services, our song brings us together as a family. Saint Luke’s is known far and wide as having one of the finest music programs in the region, and new offerings, such as God and Jazz alongside our soaring Anglican choral Evensongs and instrumental settings of the Mass, are bring- ing new interest and new visitors.
It takes many hands to lead worship. In addition to our clergy, some 300 people serve as Lay Eucharist Ministers, acolytes, ushers, altar guild, and choirs. These volunteers span the generations, and offer important opportunities for service in God’s house. $665,114 has been allocated for Worship and Music, or 19.9% of the budget.
Saint Luke’s is a thinking church, a searching church, an inquiring church. We offer Adult Sunday school classes to suit most every need, as well as mid week offerings and programs for groups, both large and small. For children, we offer learning that is both experiential (with our Montessori based atrium), and classic (with our third and fourth grade Bible Years). We offer Vacation Bible School in the summer and education for all ages on Wednesday nights. Our Youth learn both in study and worship, with service opportunities scheduled throughout the year. Much of what we do here is “in house,” with our clergy and lay staff both writing and leading the finest Christian education opportunities in our city. Education leadership and materials for our Adults, Children, and Youth will cost $360,176 or 10.8% of the budget.
Saint Luke’s is a caring church, and our love for each other grows as we realize our need for each other. Our Pastoral Care team includes a Senior Ministries Coordinator, a Parish Nurse, trained Stephen Ministers, a Lay Visitors team, and clergy available to visit hospitals each day. Our Pastoral Care Team visits the home-bound, schedules activities and programs, and promotes general wellness, including exercise classes, blood pressure screenings, counseling, and grief support. Pastoral Care support will cost $379,633, or 11.3% of the budget.
Saint Luke’s has a proud legacy of Outreach. Today more than fifty agencies benefit from grants, volunteers, or in-kind services from Saint Luke’s. Outreach connects us to the larger village of Birmingham and beyond. Outreach makes our faith tactile, tangible, and helps us to grow as disciples of Jesus.
These days our Outreach dollars have focused toward some aspect of addressing hunger, both at home and abroad. Our participation in the annual “Stop Hunger Now” draws hundreds of volunteers from our church as we join with other Christians from our community to stuff food bags for transport. Local agencies are considered as they address hunger issues in our city. This year Saint Luke’s committed $645,981 to local outreach, or 19.3% of the budget.
A Village Church belongs to the neighborhood and not only our members. We are generous with our space here, and from early morning until late most evenings, Saint Luke’s serves as host to reunion groups, Bible studies, AA, support groups, and folks just stopping by for a sip of water or a trip to the restroom. We are a voting precinct and also proudly sponsor a Boy Scout Troop. We are a vibrant place in the heart of a vibrant village. Buildings and grounds upkeep costs approximately $666,367 or 19.9% of the budget.
In a world where technology becomes ever more vital as well as ever changing, we seek to provide the most current and effective means of communicating to our parish. Our website and targeted advertisements in local publications such as Village Living offer welcome to newcomers and help to promote upcoming events. In-house publications such as our Lenten devotional showcase the talent and spirituality of our congregation. Sunday bulletins are user friendly and facilitate our worship. This year our communications budget is $94,382, or 2.8% of the budget.
The remaining $535,840 or, 16%, includes administration costs, supplies, and the personnel who make daily operations happen.