by Bob Wickizer

Called to Change
Rev. Bob Wickizer
2 Samuel 7:1-14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Sometimes the little things one does tell important things about priorities. Recently we have been blessed to have new eyes looking at St. Philip's and a couple of these seemingly insignificant "little" things speak loudly about our real priorities. Let me share these with you.

In a meeting with a financial consultant from our diocese, budgets from two other similar-sized parishes were shared with us. The consultant pointed out that both churches structured their budgets so that first you see the income and then in the expense category, the first thing you see in big bold letters is a heading for MISSION. Then came all the other expenses of the church.

The point being made by this simple format was that the very FIRST dollars we spend from the church's income go to the mission Christ calls us to do. This simple format change is of course biblically based; that is, we give our first fruits to God because ALL of the income belongs to God anyway.

Now to clear up some confusion: In the past two years we have been forced to cut back our budget line of financial support of outreach missions to zero. In spite of the reduction, St. Philip's does support mission work in a variety of ways. Let's look at a few of these-

- Our parish pledge to the Diocese. St. Philip's has typically pledged as much as 10% of our budget to the Diocese. A large part of this money goes to outreach within the diocese, the nation and the world.

- Clergy discretionary funds. Most of this goes directly to local outreach.

- Parish Thanksgiving dinner serves over a hundred homeless people as well as parishioners and community members.

- Elizabeth House - Many parishioners volunteer and one day a week spend preparing and serving as many as seventy five meals.

- Women of St. Philip's - The WOSP fund a number of local and regional outreach projects


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