By Linda Fippin, President of the Board of Trustees
We usually think of fall as the time for gathering resources to prepare for the cold and lean days of winter. But spring is a time of gathering, too. Birds are gathering twigs and moss, fur and feathers to build the nests that shelter their eggs and then gathering grubs and worms and insects to feed their hungry young. Trees and plants of all kinds are spreading their leaves to gather light from the sun and sending out their roots to gather water and nutrients from the soil. Animals are busily gathering, too. Chipmunks and squirrels are digging under trees (and in the potted plants on my porch) seeking nuts buried in the fall to feed themselves and the babies in their burrows and nests. Rabbits, being rabbits, have many hungry mouths to feed and go out day and night seeking their own harvest of green grass and tender leaves, risking being gathered themselves by hawks and owls that have their own nests full of hungry mouths.
Perhaps you have guessed that this is a not very subtle way of leading up to talking about the Westside spring canvass. Indeed, this is the time of year when we gather the resources that Westside needs for the upcoming fiscal year. Westside doesn’t have literal “hungry mouths” that need feeding, but its operating costs do chew through funds like rabbits chew through an unguarded vegetable garden. In many ways it’s like maintaining a house. There are standard expenses like the mortgage, insurance; building, grounds and equipment maintenance; utilities and sometimes unexpected expenses. And there is the all-important staff to be paid, too. When you get to the bottom of the budget, though, only a few hundred dollars are allotted to ministry. It seems a bit like having paid the bills, there is no disposable income. If this were a personal budget, it would mean not having money for a college fund or a family vacation or a home improvement project or replacing an old refrigerator with a new more energy efficient model.
But what does it mean for Westside that there is not much in the budget for Ministry? Ministry doesn’t just mean having a minister, regardless of how important Rev. Carol is to the life of Westside. When Westside collects donations for the food pantry and clothing for Samantha Monday’s program helping people make the transition from jail to outside life, those are ministries. As we have been talking about for the last several months, Westside is working to expand our presence in our community, whether through support of reproductive justice or environmental justice or racial justice or the LGBTQ+ community. These are ministries, too. Many Westsiders support these ministries with their time and efforts and, often, funds. Wouldn’t it be good to have some “disposable income” to help support and expand our ministries?
Just something to think about if you haven’t yet submitted your pledge. (If you have already submitted your pledge, the Finance Team would happily consider amending it upward.)