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Using the parochial reports to prompt ministry and stewardship

Many have weighed in with spirited discussion on two of our diocesan lists 
regarding my site  http://rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/nwkparoc.html -- at which 
I share over 22,000 bits of data on the 115 congregations in the diocese. 
I culled the data from parochial reports as printed in our diocesan 
JOURNAL OF CONVENTION for 1976, 1986, 1996, and 2004.   I also used data 
from the US census for 1990 and 2000, as well as data from the Clerical 
Directory. Thereby I tracked each congregation's record across almost 
three decades and calculated how each parish was doing relative to the 
others. I reported which parishes have had the greatest influx of Asians 
or blacks or Hispanics in the last decade.....   (One person in a lily 
white zip code responded, alas:  "You must have too much time on your 
hands." )

My motive is to prompt local leadership to review ministry and stewardship 
priorities.  I hope we will use the data enhance servant ministry in the 
communities of our diocese.  I am heartened by the care and extent of the 
attention many are giving to this task.

Many want to know how to report "outreach" accurately.  Some congregations 
report zero or other very low amounts, yet do substantial outreach --  
through cdc's, through 'in-kind' services to the poor and 
disadvantaged.........    Are there sensible and trustworthy  ways for 
parishes to compute in-kind contributions to outreach without redirecting 
money for such ministry into the coffers of CPAs?   We're not concerned to 
tell everyone how good we are, but we are concerned to give an account 
that will encourage us to serve more effectively.

Some parishes report that they need almost 100% of their total revenue to 
pay the priest and keep the building functioning.   Does every parish 
suffer spiritually when it spends all its money on itself, or is that true 
only for those rich enough to have money left over?

What experience have others had with the "outreach" category in the 
parochial reports?  What experience have others had in using parochial 
reports  to enhance ministry?

Have a blessed Christmas!

Lutibelle/Louie, Newark 94, 97, 00, 03.  Member of Executive Council

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