Strategic Planning Updates
St. Paul’s strategic plan focuses on strategies for reaching objectives in facilities, financial stewardship and human resources. The Vestry reviews progress on the three strategies each month. Find this month’s updates below.
- Develop a long-range plan and cost assessment for facility rehabilitation and update.
- Develop a cost
assessment for the
The team will begin the annual pledge campaign, “Transforming Generosity,” in October, with the Ingathering Nov. 7.
As the church reopens, the team has filled many leadership and key ministry roles, such as parish administrator. They will continue to fill remaining roles.
Vestry Strategic Planning Leadership
Facilities: Layne Dupree, Ruth Gates, Ange Green, Teresa Singer, Tom Sramek
Stewardship: Steve Martin, Rhonda Stroud, Merry Ann Wright
Human Resources: Matt Langley, Joan Rosko Miller, Meaghan Thomas, Sally Pope
Facilities Stakeholder Input Meetings
St. Paul’s held a series of facilities stakeholder input sessions in April. Access the recordings of these meetings below.
Hospitality and Outreach: Tuesday, April 20, 5:30 p.m. | Video Recording
Administration and Site: Tuesday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. | Video Recording
Worship and Music: Thursday, April 22, 5:30 p.m. | Video Recording
Christian Formation: Thursday, April 22, 6:30 p.m. | Video Recording
Ministry Areas Stakeholders Reporting Meeting: Wednesday, April 28, 6 p.m. | Video Recording
In 2020, St. Paul’s held a series of five meetings to discuss our strategic plan and how we will be “Growing Together in Faith,” held via Zoom on Sunday mornings in place of adult formation.
- Oct. 4: Growing in Faith—Why a Strategic Plan | Fr. Ray and Fr. Adam | Recording
- Oct. 11: Discerning God’s Call-How We Got Here | Cleve Callison (Overview), Bill Anlyan (Facilities), Anne Babcock O’Dell (Financial Stewardship), Ashley Eason (Human Resources) | Recording | Presentation
- Oct. 18: Updating our Facilities | Steve Haughey, Angela Green, Ruth Gates, Teresa Singer | Recording | Presentation
- Oct. 25: Financial Stewardship—Deepening Our Generosity | Jan Vick, Rhonda Stroud, Joe Farri |Recording | Presentation
- Nov. 1: Human Resources—Staffing for Mission | Meaghan Thomas, Keith Calder, Sally Pope, Joan Rosko-Miller | Recording | Presentation
FAQs from Forums
What is the strategic plan and who developed it? Beginning in 2019, a vestry subcommittee spent 6 months working with the Rev. Jim Hanisian on the plan. The group agreed on a proposed strategic plan that identified three key strategies for the congregation over the next 3 years: facilities, financial stewardship and human resources. They presented this proposal to the vestry. The vestry adopted the plan unanimously. Now, even though we are in a pandemic, this plan is such that we can move forward. This may seem bold. It may seem risky. We are stepping out in faith and we’re doing this together. This is like Peter getting out of the boat and trusting that Jesus will help him walk on the water.
What happens if we don’t take this step? St. Paul’s will stop growing and likely will shrink back into a smaller size church.
Why were these needs identified and not program needs, such as music, worship, outreach? The needs that were identified are foundational and will allow us to build our programs.
How can members of the parish offer input into these committees? If anyone hearing these presentations has talents and gifts they could offer to the committee, don’t hesitate to come forward and offer services. The human resources committee is going to perform a spiritual gifts assessment to determine what God is calling you to do with the talents He has given you.
Aside from ADA and fire compliance, what other serious flaws does the parish house have that we would have to address? When we took a look at the major problems (ADA and fire) and if we take a look at space utilization ratios (space we have versus space we can use), the question came up in our discussion whether going forward this facility can continue to support a growing parish. Then there were questions when the hurricane swept through in 2018 and water damage occurred in the gym. In November 2018, the vestry had a complete engineering analysis of both buildings. While there were lots of problems, we were told by the engineers that this 90-year-old building is in very sound shape.
Are we anywhere in doing two things: 1) an actual plan that the congregation could see to renovate the parish hall or 2) a plan to tear it down. There is a committee that will be working on that. Right now we are working on a request for proposal that will be sent to various architects. It includes information about St. Paul’s and the scope we’re looking at, which would include fixing some of the problems, renovating, or tearing it down and starting over. We are about to finish that document. We will speak about it at next week’s meeting in more detail. The vestry will determine who we will select to perform the scope of work to evaluate the buildings, get input from professionals, then get a cost estimate. We will have a more in-depth conversation next week as a facilities report.
A week from today (Oct. 18), at this same time, the entire conversation will be about facilities. Two weeks from today (Oct. 25), we will discuss financial stewardship. Three weeks from today (Nov. 1), we will deal with the final of the three, personnel. Nothing will be done without input from the congregation, for whatever we decide to do.
We must be careful about what we must do from a legal standpoint and what we would like to do. We have to be sensitive to how much this is going to cost. We are working on the simple, inexpensive fixes as well as the long-term solutions.
In terms of changes to the building, we need to think about not necessarily what’s permitted by law and what we can get away with since we are a church, but how we are making space for all of God’s children in this place. We don’t want to rely on the endowment to fund these projects. We believe that the money is here to do these things. We believe the resources and gifts are all around us.
In our discussions early on in the strategic planning process, as a church, we need to really decide what we are as a church. Let’s think about how we serve our older parishioners. You are fine as long as you have mobility. Sadly, we have a history that if you no longer drive, you no longer come to St. Paul’s. I would hate to see us get the cart too far ahead of the horse. Let’s us sharpen our focus and think about what are the programs we really need to serve our congregation and the demographics of that group. What do we need to do to adapt the building to serve the needs of the parishioners?
When we did a mini-remodel in the kitchen, we ran into all sorts of roadblocks with the Wilmington Historical Commission. Do we anticipate problems again with this work? In looking at prospective architects, we wanted to use architects who had experience with historic sites, namely, churches. One of the things we looked at was architects who had experience working in historic districts. When you are in a historic district, you’re going to have certain things you have to follow. It might be frustrating, but that architectural firm is going to tell us what would be allowed and what wouldn’t be allowed.
As a general rule, we are in the overlay section of the historic district. They have pretty much absolute control over the exterior of the building. They have almost zero control over what we do on the inside of the building.
Has there been an estimate to the cost of the architect’s fees and expense for the study? What will be the source of those funds? There is no estimate for the fees yet, but there have been conversations with the senior warden for how the funds will be secured to pay for those studies. We walked into this knowing there will have to be money up front to pay for that. That’s why we went with the request for proposals (RFP) instead of just coming up with a firm to do the proposal. The proposals will be free. Three years ago, St. Stephens (Ray’s former church) did a major renovation. It was about a $1.2 million project. The architectural drawings themselves cost about $60,000. We could be comfortable estimating fees would be in a range of $40,000 to $75,000.
The property of the church is owned by the diocese. Is it realistic to relocate in an area with eight other Episcopal churches? If we were to buy or sell a property, we would need permission of the diocese. If the RFP determined that the costs to make the changes were astronomical and not feasible, one of the things the vestry would explore would be relocation. The diocese would get involved in the sale or purchase of property.
Right now we are struggling to increase giving to sustain our funding on an ongoing basis. Are there other complementary sources of funding, such as loans through the diocese, national church, foundations that would add to the amount of our capital campaign ability? There are other sources available, but the majority of the funding would have to be raised by St. Paul’s. We are not doing a capital campaign right now. That is something that would be done in the future after proposals are received, a candidate (architect) is chosen, a plan developed (case study). That case study would be presented to prospective donors during a capital campaign. That will be addressed in detail in the presentation next week.
There is the possibility of putting up a third structure on the property. There are other options from not just remodeling or relocating. In the RFP we have indicated that there is other space on the property. That is something we would want the professionals to consider.
The Andrews’ facility study was referenced in another conversation. The price they put on repairs related to those pictures was about $350,000. Some were urgent. Others had a longer time frame for their completion. Have any of those been addressed? The corner of the narthex has been addressed to prevent further sinking ($27,000). They had talked about fixing the shingles and gutter system. We got those fixed right before the hurricane. The RFP mentions those things that have been completed since the Andrews report.
We need to know that one option is replacing the existing parish building with a new structure, even raising the elevation somewhat to allow for parking underneath. We know we have serious problems with lack of access for people with wheelchairs, emergency evacuations for rooms with only one entry/exit. The consequences are dreadful. That is definitely something we have talked about (facilities committee). We are letting the professionals guide us toward that. The mission of the church is to drawn each other into unity with Christ. Our mission is to grow the church. Our facility does not help us do that. It hinders people coming to church. If you have a physical disability, you cannot get into the parish hall. The stair chair is a joke. For someone who is in a wheelchair, you have to pick them up, put them in the chair, pick up the wheelchair and get it up the stairs. Some wheelchairs are very, very heavy. That will just not work. It’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable where we have only one entrance and we could have a fire and people could be killed. It’s about welcoming people and keeping them safe. Does it mean tearing out the inside of the parish hall and rebuilding it? I think we are obligated to address these issues. If you have some kind of disability, we need to welcome you. God has given us everything we need to do this. What you need now is to not be fearful, not be anxious, and to move forward.
What difference would it make in our church if more people tithed? If the number of pledgers we have now pledged the biblical tithe of 10%, we would have more money than we would know what to do with. We talk about it as though we are asking people to do something painful. Tithing isn’t a painful thing. We are asking people to give out of the joy in their hearts for the many blessings God has given us. If people would just give a 3% or 4% tithe, it would be a great thing.
How much have we lost in cash collections, the loose offering on Sunday mornings during the pandemic? We haven’t lost much. We are a little behind. We are at 65-70% of collections for the year. The loose offering is a few thousand dollars. Most of the offering comes from people mailing checks in or having their offering deducted from their checking account.
Are grants available that will help with the building? There are some available that could help and we should apply for them, but we don’t want to put the responsibility on someone else to get the funding for our ministry. We need to come up with it. We have all the money we need to do everything we want to do. The only thing is, it’s in your pocket. We have the obligation as disciples to sacrifice. Why are we here? We are here to grow the church.
Why are we not taking money out of the endowment in 2021? There is not money available from the endowment for us to take out. We are dangerously close to a value in that fund that would drop below the baseline that we have all fought so hard to maintain. We are looking to grow that fund over the next 3 years.
When we fill out the online pledge form on the Annual Pledge Giving page, is that an automatic deduction? No, you can go to the Give Now link on the Home page and electronically set up your payment using the Tithe.ly app. Or you can schedule an automatic payment through your bank.
How would we spend $70,000 for pastoral care? The pie chart is a reflection of total staff resources spent on any particular slice of the pie. We can get a breakdown from Judy Wilson (parish treasurer) and will get that to you. It’s not just hard costs, it’s staff costs. This isn’t a budget to be spent but a reflection of how our rectors and staff spend their time on various aspects of the church mission. The mission budget is a way for us to be thinking of what we are doing at St. Paul’s as we look with gratitude to express our generosity. The bottom line is if you add up all the expenses from six ministries, the total is exactly what is included in a line-item budget.
On the Ministry and Worship, was there any raise for the music staff, as they are underpaid? There was a small percentage staff raise included in the budget.
If we want to see the line item budget, we have been instructed to contact Judy Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly. Is there a more efficient way rather than everyone going to Judy directly? We are making decisions by Nov. 1. All we have is general information. Some of us may want some more detail before then. You could put it in a member-only button on the website, with the password given out to members. Or you could send it by email to the St. Paul’s membership list. No, please contact Judy directly at this time. The idea of having the line-item budget available to the parish once things become a bit clearer in terms of expenses and income is very reasonable and can be provided to the parish in a secure manner.
FYI, there is a member-only section in the website footer at the bottom of every page (“Members”), where we keep the membership directory. The password has been emailed to all members or you may call the parish office at (910) 762-4578 to get the password.
What other resources will we be considering? One of the ways we can grow the church is by growing a youth ministry for families. The average age of St. Paul’s parishioners is 63. We would like to be able to attract younger families. We have potential in growing the over-63 congregation, but also families. We have identified 23 groups of human resources that serve the church. Aside from professional staffs, we have people with all these gifts. Because of our location and because of the great need, we should be praying about and thinking about how St. Paul’s can use its resources for outreach: housing shortage, food insecurity, etc..
We had a conversation on the search committee regarding the terms “personnel” and “human resources.” That could be construed by some to mean paid staff. I think the committee meant what human resources do we have in the parish. I think we need to think about what term we use to define everyone. The vestry decided to use “human resources” as the more accurate term, since we are looking well beyond the paid staff to everyone who is part of our church.
How are you dealing with this in the context of Covid-19. Obviously, things are different. Over this year since March 13, it has not slowed us down. We have been able to keep going. I am thankful for the Zoom portal and the technological help we have. It is easier enough to gather our information. As we know, face-to-face meetings are best. We have done well with what we have. Most of the meetings have been done via Zoom, but we are slowly reintroducing in-person meetings as safely as we can do.
The search committee and other meetings have been on site. This past month we started to reintroduce in person worship. We had an organ concert. We will have a special compline service on Election Day. During the week, Adam and I (Ray) are here on Mondays through Thursdays and Carl (parish adminsitrator) was here from 8:30-2 every day and 8:30-12 on Fridays. Diane (finance office) is here 15 hours a week. Bob is frequently here working with our various tech issues. Judy Wilson (treasurer) comes. Richard and Ronnie are here frequently to rehearse. In at least once a week. In terms of traffic from people asking for help, that has fallen off almost completely. We get very little street traffic. Now that Carl has left, we think we can cover the office admin responsibilities with office volunteers and contract off-site labor. The hope is as we can safely do it, we will resume as much in-person activity as we can. It all depends on the spend of the virus. Your health, our health, is our priority.
Has the committee developed or does it already have an exit interview form for staff/volunteers who leave a position? We do not. I (Ray) had a brief conversation with him, offered to have a longer one with him, which he declined. Carl submitted his resignation suddenly and unexpectedly. We had a brief conversation. He did not want to talk about it. I asked him to go to lunch for a deeper conversation and he declined that offer.
All the stuff we do electronically may go away, but we may want to think of paid staff that deal with that. That continues to be an emerging ministry here. With Bob and Bryce we are in good shape. Volunteers are still possible there, but there may be a point where we want to boost that into a paid position.
What is the role of a rector in church staffing, especially paid employees? I think the rector is the person who has the authority to hire, be in charge of an ultimately dismissed employees. I sure the rector can work along with what the strategic plan is doing. There is a role for the rector in this, isn’t there? Any paid staff member in a parish serves at the pleasure of the rector. They can hire and fire. Generally, the rector doesn’t do that in a vacuum. They do that in consultation with the vestry and the personnel committee, the leadership of the parish, who assist the rector.
Would it be productive to send a letter and develop a form to send to Carl just for your use in developing the job description? Considering the amount of time he worked here, he might have some good ideas. Maybe also reach out to our prior administrator (before Carl) as well. He already filled out the job description before he left. The job satisfaction survey might be good to send to him, along with a note of thanks and best wishes.
Maybe we could use a template from the diocese for the parish administrator position. We are definitely relying on what has already been done. Carl’s job description is three pages long. It’s pretty thorough. During Covid, it was not appropriate for him to do some of the things on the job description. We didn’t need somebody for that many hours to do what Carl was doing.
How does the rector search dovetail into this new format? When a new rector is called, all the paid staff are required to submit their resignation to the new rector. The new rector chooses who to keep on staff (99% of them will stay on) and they have a discussion to reevaluate each position as needed.
The search committee is charged with coming up with some candidates that potentially will be our new rector, that they conferred with the congregation to find what qualities that rector should possess. Given that we trust in the process, when a new rector is called and the vestry takes a vote on the candidate affirmatively to name that person, I believe part of the work of human resources is to work with that rector so that the wishes of the congregation are considered, in terms of where we want to go in the future so we can grow our presence in the wider community. We have a lot of people who are very involved and there are many other members of our congregation who might attend a livestreaming service every now and then but may not be that actively involved. Do we have people who are in positions for year after year? We want to make sure people aren’t burned out. As new members come in to the congregation, they should be welcomed into these ministries so they can rise to meet the need.
The new rector would meet with the whole vestry and meet individually with each strategic planning committee member. The two things the search committee has done is to establish who we are as a parish and who we want to call. In terms of the strategic plan, that is a part of the documentation that the candidate will receive.
Strategic Planning Background
St. Paul’s is blessed with a thriving congregation. Even in the midst of a pandemic, we want to grow wisely and well. In 2019, St. Paul’s Vestry had the foresight to appoint a subcommittee that represented a cross-section of our church membership. Their mission was to develop a proposed strategic plan for the parish that would shape our activities for the next 3 to 5 years. Bill Anlyan, Twink Barr, Cleve Callison, Rachel Carroll, Ashley Eason, Julie Martin, Joan Rosko Miller, Anne O’Dell, the Rev. Adam Pierce, Shannon Rowe, Patt Scherer and Leon Tillery made up the team.
As shown in the timeline on this page, the group worked for 6 months to develop the plan, which ultimately focused on strategies for reaching objectives in facilities, financial stewardship and human resources.
St. Paul’s Vestry unanimously approved the plan and set to work on a response to implement the strategies. They wanted to bring the entire parish into the process, so they scheduled five forums in October and November 2020 to openly communicate the process used and provide an update on where the vestry teams were in the implementation process.
We will welcome all to live God’s mission, teach Christ’s love and transform our community by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual Gifts Assessment distributed to members
- WKWW hired to develop architectural plan
- Facilities Stakeholder Input Meetings held
- Results from Spiritual Gifts Assessments shared with individual parishioners regarding which ministries matched their spiritual gifts.
- Through-the-Year Stewardship Plan approved
- Ministry leadership provides mid-year updates during Sunday a.m. worship
- As the church reopens, many leadership and key ministry roles filled
- Book groups discuss Henri Nouwen’s “Spirituality of Fundraising”
- Plans finalized for annual pledge campaign, “Transforming Generosity”
- Parish administrator hired
- “Safety and Emergency Plan for Children’s Formation” developed
Aug. 2019–March 2020
- Vestry subcommittee convenes under guidance of the Rev. Jim Hanisian
- Performs environmental scan of parish data
- Identifies objectives: statements of focus for the next 3 years
- Writes goals to measure progress in completing strategies
- Establishes strategies that are to be the main thrust of St. Paul’s energies for the next three years
- Develops 3-year action plan of how the tasks might be approached
Subcommittee presents 3-year suggested action plan to vestry to meet objectives for:
- Financial Stewardship
- Human Resources
- Vestry unanimously approves plan
- Formulates response to implement the strategies
Clergy, vestry and members of subcommittee present rationale for the strategic plan and provide details to parish in series of five Sunday morning forums.