A Parish Update message from Peter Rush, Chairman, Finance and Development Committee

UPDATE OCTOBER 2020

Dear fellow parishioners,

Regrettably, we have been unable to return to parish life with any sort of normality and at the time of writing this, it is difficult to imagine when we will be able to do so. However, the Finance and Development Committee (FDC) has continued to go about its business as best we can and we thought you might be interested in an update of our activities.

Staff Issues

From the time of our stage 4 lockdown, the Parish Office has been closed and all staff commenced working from home for their normal activities. As much as possible, our dedicated staff have continued to conduct all the normal operational matters of the parish with minimal disruption. Day-to-day matters have been managed well, although, obviously, some activities have had to be temporarily curtailed. The parish office will be reopened as soon as possible but, of course, in line with government requirements and practical measures in place. I would like to thank our staff for their commitment, dedication and flexibility in difficult circumstances.

Finance

While the FDC expected that the finances of the parish would be affected by Covid 19 and the restrictions imposed, we are pleased that the effect has not been as great as we has initially imagined.

Understandably, our weekly collections have reduced but many parishioners have opted to use electronic means of transferring funds to the parish and we are very grateful for this. It remains an available option and if you would like information on how it’s done, please leave a message on the parish office’s line and someone will return to you. Alternatively, if you would like to make an electronic contribution to our accounts directly, the relevant BSB & Account numbers are:

Presbytery A/c-1st Collection BSB: 083 347 Account:674466042

Church A/c-2nd Collection BSB: 083 347 Account: 546358602

Importantly, the parish qualified for the federal government’s JobKeeper program, the first phase of which ended on 30 September. Likewise, we qualify for the second phase, although the financial contribution from the government will reduce and at this stage, it will cease on 31 December. This initiative has been an enormous advantage to the parish as it relieved the financial impact of staff salaries on the parish.

Our income and expenditure continues to be closely monitored and where possible, we have deferred costs to a later date and have scaled back on non-essential items, including some general maintenance matters. As is our routine, the FDC formally reviews our financial position monthly, while expenses are managed on a day-to-day basis.

Parish Connectivity

Fr Kevin continues to live-stream Mass and I know many parishioners use this service.

Parish ministries are connected by Zoom technology, which has enabled many of these groups and the parish generally to continue to function, albeit with some difficulty and restrictions.

Of course, when we are able to attend Mass again remains unclear but the Liturgy Committee will ensure we are able to do so safely and in accordance with requirements when it does happen.

Risk Management

The dangers and restrictions imposed due to Covid 19 have enabled the FDC to implement a risk management strategy, for which we have utilised a risk management ‘tool’ developed by our insurer, CCI. This period has provided an excellent opportunity to ‘road test’ our recently developed risk management strategy and over time, you will see this in operation in the parish more frequently. The aim of the FDC is to ensure that appropriate risk management techniques are implemented in all ministries within the parish. Glenn Morris is leading this work and progress is encouraging.

Strategic Plan

The FDC has also used the additional time due to restricted activities to commence work on the parish strategic plan and while there remains much to be done, FDC members are pleased with progress. The plan is very much in its construction and draft stages and it will be released to all parishioners for comment and feedback in due course. We are fortunate to have the expertise of Michael McConville for this project.

On behalf of Fr Kevin and the FDC, I hope you continue to stay safe and well. Like all of us, I am keen to have life back to ‘normal’, although I can barely remember what that looked like. Please continue to look after yourself and to pray for each other that we will be able to gather again as a community in the not-too-distant future.

God bless you and warm regards,

Peter Rush

Chairman, Finance & Development Committee.

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