i've been on the vestry of my church for a year and a smidge now and i'm having trouble with my conscience. my church is over 100 years old, it is comprised of a campus of four buildings (church, rectory, parish house, apartment building for staff)and the whole of it is absolutely beautiful. however, all the money we raise at the church goes toward maintaining the buildings. they are an albatross around our necks. rather than making money for us, they cost - a lot! the roof on any one of these buildings is always falling apart (to the point where as soon as one is repaired, another one starts to fall apart!)our utlities have gone up, like everyone else's. something always needs extensive repair at my church.
we do wonderful outreach at my church. we have a shelter for homeless men in our parish hall. we have an after-school program. we have a summer camp at a very reduced cost. we serve dinner for the homeless every saturday night. years ago, the past rector created a seperate organization to handle the outreach, hoping that organization would get foundation money that a church might not.
unfortunately, it feels like that entity and the church are becoming "us vs. them"
christ taught us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give money to the poor, not put all your energy and hard work to keep a bunch of buildings going.
i'm getting the "emerging church" idea that church does not have to be in a building.
i feel like our outreach program could do a lot more than it does, but is having a hard time raising money because people give their money to the church first. and there are never enough volunteers.
i co-chair a major fund-raiser for the church, a street fair that's coming up next month. this is my 3rd year on this event. it's starting to upset me that all the work i'm putting into this event is not to raise money for our outreach programs, but to pay the utility bill.
i'm meeting with my rector to talk about it this weekend. maybe when i'm done with my vestry term, i should sit on the board of the outreach organization.