Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
From Sanctuary’s leadership team: At our recent leadership meeting we looked at Sanctuary’s finances and budget. Sanctuary’s main expense is our pastor’s wage. She is paid for three days a week, but puts in at least another day on top of that. Despite this being our primary expense, our finances are severely strained. The budget specifically shows that our congregational giving is down $15,000 on our projected income for this financial year. We are currently plugging that hole with $320 a week from our Job Keeper treasure chest!
The seriousness of this financial situation means that without a resolution, we as a congregation may be faced with some difficult decisions in the future.
For many of us, it can be uncomfortable talking about money, for personal and sometimes cultural reasons. This is especially so during the cost of living crisis we’re currently in. But it is exactly the generous financial contributions that have allowed Sanctuary to become what it is. A witness of love as a congregation to onlookers in places such as the wider LGBTQIA+ community, an interstate maximum community prison, the wider secular community who are disengaged from Christianity, as well as to churches. Sanctuary speaks of love and diversity in Christ.
Sanctuary is a small church. It is precisely its intimacy that makes it a safe place for many.
Being a Baptist congregation, it is the congregation that funds the church. If we want a future for Sanctuary, it is our little congregation that needs to meet its financial needs. We’ll never be a rich Mega church (not anytime soon anyway), and we don’t aspire to be. We don’t have either institutional or intergenerational wealth from the wider church. We are deeply grateful for the generous giving of our small congregation and some supportive allies that enable Sanctuary to be Sanctuary.
And so we ask that we reflect on the truth that we give to what we value. Indeed “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We ask that as a congregation, as households, and as individuals, we think and pray about this situation.
- Does Sanctuary as a faith community provide a counterpoint to fear, division, ignorance and hatred?
- Does Sanctuary provide a witness to living fully, to flourishing, and to living open heartedly with love?
- Does our current giving reflect what Sanctuary means in our own lives?
- Does our current giving reflect our commitment to Sanctuary’s witness to the wider world?
After the holidays there will be an opportunity for us as a congregation to have a conversation about our finances moving forward. As a reminder, the easiest way to give to Sanctuary is to set up a recurring direct deposit to South Yarra Community Baptist – Warrnambool Account, BSB 704922, Account 100015723. You can also donate via PayPal, though this means PayPal takes a cut.
Emma and Greg
Emailed to Sanctuary 22 March 2023 © Sanctuary, 2023. Photo by Nadjib BR on Unsplash. Sanctuary is based on Peek Whurrong country. Acknowledgement of country here.
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