Letter from the Bishop – Update on Stewardship Collection

16th October, 2020

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the month of March when I noticed the critical financial situation of our Diocese I took certain painful and difficult steps to better our situation by making some Diocesan staff positions redundant, in May I had to put all the staff at the Chancery and Bishop’s residence on half time and half pay and to date this continues.

These measures had to be taken since our main sources of financial assistance were no longer available. Effective 2020 the annual grant from our Sister Diocese of Duluth of US$20,000.00 to US$32,000.00 has been discontinued. This situation was further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic which hindered our diocese from participating in eight preaching assignments in the United States. Also our churches were closed and jobs were lost.

This situation highlighted the precarious and vulnerable financial situation of our Diocese. The Diocese reliance on foreign financial assistance has been so since its birth nearly 31 years ago.

This economic crisis caused me much anxiety, stress, sleepless nights and tears, I prayed and thought a lot. It was quite dear that we cannot continue to depend heavily on foreign aid to sustain our diocese. This dear brothers and sisters is just not acceptable. We as a diocese must be able to sustain ourselves, thus with this conviction I spoke to you my dear faithful of the diocese and your response was generous and heart warming. I felt above all your genuine concern and care for the well being of the diocese and for me in particular and for that I am eternally thankful and grateful.

I am trying to make a paradigm shift in our diocese even though worldwide and locally the economic situation is difficult and challenging given the pandemic but we have no other choice.

To this end, effective June 2020, the monthly stewardship envelopes were reintroduced. I have seen an encouraging improvement in your contribution towards the upkeep of the diocese. I sincerely thank you for this sacrifice and trust that you will continue to give your support by way of your monthly contributions. A report on the monthly Stewardship collection from June to September 30th 2020 is as follows:

Cathedral: $25,825.28; Corpus Christi; $7,516.00; OLQU: $5,790.90; St. John’s: $5,870.00; St. Benedict: $2,536.50; St. Michael: $2,075.00 and Holy Family; $1,873.40. Thus in this four months you have contributed collectively $51,487.08.

However, the shift I would like to make is not only about finance but a shift in mentality; in how we see ourselves as Church and more particularly as disciples of Jesus Christ especially taking into consideration our synod motto: ‘Building Community through Word, Eucharist and Service’. To this I would add my episcopal motto: ‘Love one another as I have loved you’, John: 15.12.

These must become incarnated in our lives and be a lived reality in our families, communities and our beloved SVG. With God all things are possible.

Fraternally in Christ,

Gerard County
Bishop of Kingstown