Dear St. Nicholas family,
We want to share with you an exciting thing that we believe the Spirit is doing at St. Nicholas. At the beginning of the year, the Vestry and Fr. Jeff did a ministry review together. One of the things that we both agreed upon was the fact that Fr. Jeff’s pastoral ministry here has been hindered by the amount of administrative work he has to do. As the only full-time employee at St. Nicholas, much of his job includes sorting mail, making copies, addressing envelopes, filing, and answering the phone which limits his time spent on pastoral care, which we agree is a better use of his time as we continue to grow. Dorothy Webster, our beloved parish administrator, whom we only pay mileage, is here on a limited basis and helps as much as a volunteer can. Also, her work is strictly financial and while she does a number of administrative tasks, that is not her primary role. We have had other volunteers from the parish come in from time to time to help do things but that hasn’t addressed the consistency of the position that St. Nicholas really needs. Also, many parishioners do their own administrative work for the church which is a financial and time burden on them.
For the last few months, we have been exploring the possibility of hiring a part-time administrative assistant. We see the need of such a position for the many tasks that need to be done, or could be done, if the right person was compensated properly. However, the hurdle in our discussion was one of funding. The Vestry themselves pledged $2650 toward this position as a sign of our acknowledgement of the need we have. At our meeting in May, the Vestry officially decided to take the leap of faith and move forward with the hiring, trusting that if we communicated the need to the parish, the finances would work out. We also knew that this would not be a popular decision, as 45% of last year’s pledgers did not fulfill their pledge, and currently we are behind our expectations of where we thought we would be by the end of May. How could we expect to fund a new part-time position when our finances seem to be precarious enough as they are? Wouldn’t this send a mixed message to the congregation?
The next day after we made this decision, Fr. Jeff went to the mailbox to mail some notes. Inside, there was a letter from a newcomer to St. Nicholas and a check in the amount of $10,000 to be used in the general funds of the church. This person gave out of gratitude for God’s blessings and their love for our church. Fr. Jeff called each Vestry person to tell them the news, and we all agreed that God’s timing was impeccable, and that this was a sign that we were moving in the right direction.
Therefore, we will begin the process of hiring a part-time administrative assistant. Applicants may e-mail their resume to Fr. Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org. A hiring committee comprised of senior warden Dave Halmrast, junior warden Michelle Moody, treasurer Gene Demonet, and parish administrator Dorothy Webster will help Fr. Jeff review applicants. Again, this is a part-time position only and the committee will determine the compensation, the hours the person will work, and the job description. By keeping this position part-time, we will not have to incur the additional expenses of benefits that a full-time position would entail. This position will allow us to have regular office hours so parishioners could count on someone being at the church consistently, and will take a load off of all our leaders and volunteers.
Like every endeavor in our shared ministry here, this initiative will require the support of the whole congregation. We are counting on those who pledged for 2011 to get their pledges up-to-date, and if there is a problem in doing so, to please make an appointment with Fr. Jeff. As we look forward to 2012, we hope that you will begin to pray about how you can contribute to our growing budget. Our congregation is growing steadily (our average Sunday attendance has gone from 80 to 91 in the last 5 months), and the seeds we plant with an administrative assistant today will go a long way to continuing the further health and vitality of our ministry in Harris County. Please contact Fr. Jeff or any Vestry member with any questions, concerns, or comments so we can address them properly.
God is on our side and will not let us down.
The Rev. Jeff Jackson, Rector
Dave Halmrast, Senior Warden
Michelle Moody, Junior Warden