2020: We held up well! But what will happen in 2021?

2020 was a very strange year for everyone and in many ways a very difficult year for many people. It could have been a very difficult year for us financially, with no Sunday collections or fund raising events. And indeed the adjusted budget (set after lockdown started) showed a record deficit. But surprisingly our deficit in 2020 was actually less than half of that in 2019.

How could this be?

The answer is not that we could reduce our costs. 80% of our expenses are fixed in salary and building costs. Things like travel play a tiny part in our budget and our organist continued to work hard for both the online and RTC services when they were held. So the answer is more that our income was much higher than expected and this was for two reasons: Firstly, we received two grants from the diocese, adding up to €7 800, which covered our losses from Sunday services and events. Secondly, we received some generous and unpledged giving, to especially try and support the Church during this very difficult time. The result was nevertheless

A deficit of around €5 000 but this was much lower than the €13k deficit we had originally projected.

So the big problem is, how to set a budget for 2021? Will we receive further grants from the diocese? Possibly, but so far there is no process set up for application. Will we receive further non-pledged giving? Unlikely to the levels of 2020. Will we be able to hold a book sale or a carol service towards the end of the year? No-one knows this right now. It is therefore impossible to set a realistic budget. It is only possible to set a “worst case” budget, covering the income and costs we know we will have. And this does not look good at all. But it is the worst case!

So let’s hope and pray it will not come to this!

Our reserves continue to run lower and lower, at the moment they will last another 2, possibly 3 years or less if 2021 turns out according to the “worst case” scenario. The only answer is to find some way of bumping our income up to the roughly €70k costs we have each year. I learned on a recent diocesan call, that the fact that 70% of our income comes from pledged, regular giving makes our income situation very strong, it is just not on a quite high enough level. Please consider if there is anything you can do to support the Church, via a regular monthly contribution, by helping to fill the gaps of missing collections (average Sunday collections are around €150 to €200 should you like to consider sponsoring a missing Sunday collection or part of one) or in any other way you can think of. We do also have a Paypal account open now, to enable people who do not have Euro bank accounts to more easily make a donation (Paypal do charge fees of 1.5%, so this should only be used when a bank transfer is not possible.)

Please pray for financial security for our Church in 2021 and the coming years and let me know if you have any specific questions regarding the financial situation, the budget, planned giving, tax receipts or anything else.

Jackie – finances@stcatherines-stuttgart.de