Dear Fellow Parishioners of St. James,
I am writing to give you an update on the impact of the Corona virus and the Safer at Home restrictions on St. James'. It is, of course, obvious to all of us that our services are curtailed, we will observe Holy Week and Easter in an unprecedented way, and we are all in need of connections to our community. Please follow our service schedule and reflections on the church website.
I am writing here about the more mundane, but very real, financial impact on St. James. Our day school and the youth center are closed and will stay that way as long as the South Pasadena School District is closed. At a minimum, that is until April 19, but it could be longer. So far, the rate of increase of the cases of Covid19 has not tapered off. We will not be charging tuition or fees when we are not operating and thus a significant part of the church income has disappeared.
Our teachers are on contract through the end of June and we want to be able to continue to pay them – to lose their income now would be very difficult for them. We are taking a couple of approaches to make this viable.
First, the school staff are creating a “virtual dayschool” – a half hour a day program of story time and other activities, in which the students can participate through Zoom. We will be offering it in the morning to existing students and later in the day to the larger community for $10/session.
This of course will be much less than what we get from tuition. Our salary load from the preschool and youth program is over $30,000 per month. We are creating a special fund for donations from both school parents and parishioners, that will be used to cover this shortfall for our teachers. We want to say that we will do our best to ensure that all the staff are paid through the end of their contracts in June. If you wish to donate to this fund, please earmark your donation to the teacher fund.
Many of our parishioners are suffering financially as well. Many jobs have disappeared and people in the gig economy have no recourse to unemployment insurance. As is customary in Episcopalian churches, Rev. Anne has a Rector’s Discretionary Fund that she has used to help individuals in severe need. If you would like to donate to that, please note on your check that your contribution is for the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.
And last, but definitely not least, please do not forget to continue to donate to the church. You can mail a check to the church. Many of us already use electronic bill pay to make our donations, but you may not have realized that you can use it for you church donation. You can also go to sjcsp.org and pay your pledge or make an additional gift there by clicking “Donate.” Our largest expense is salary and we want to take care of our staff that has taken such good care of us.