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May 21, 2017


New Budget and Staffing Plans: 
A Letter from Peter Lane

Dear People of St. Paul & the Redeemer, 

I write to update you on the Vestry’s plan for future SPR staff and for future SPR spending. This letter and the meetings we will have after all three liturgies this Sunday, May 21, are our follow through on the commitment we made to you at the Annual Meeting on January 29 to come back in May with considered plans in response to a significant budget deficit and anticipated staffing changes. 

A Strong Parish

Our parish is strong. SPR is serving neighbor week in and week out, feeding the hungry in Haiti, in Kenwood, and in Woodlawn. SPR is inviting all. We had a very strong class of newcomers this year and Dan is leading our biggest confirmation class in years.  We have embarked on a critical building project supported by amazingly generous giving. Our youth program is thriving. Choir trips, once rare, are now a yearly adventure. Our liturgy is beautiful and welcoming every Sunday. I could go on and on. What I am trying to establish is that the changes outlined below are built on a very strong foundation. Most importantly, we worship a God who is faithful all the time.

A Balanced 2018 Budget

SPR had significant budget surpluses for seven years in a row. During that time, we saved about $350,000. And so when the Vestry saw that the parish faced a deficit in 2017, we did not panic. Giving was strong from those who are here and we have had 30 new pledging households this year. However, because we lost over 40 pledging household through attrition, moving, and death, and some of those were significant donors, we showed a $75,000 deficit for 2017.  At every Vestry meeting over the last 8 months, we have looked at different spending plans that would bring us back to a balanced budget in 2018. I am grateful for the wisdom and prayerful attention of the Vestry. I believe that we have a good plan. Its outlines are as follows.

  • Raise $35,000 more in income. This will be done by setting $600,000 as the pledging goal for 2018. That is 30k more than 2017, but less than we raised in 2015 or 2016. It will take concerted effort this fall to reach that goal. We also assume more income from space use.
  • Cut $40,000 from expenses. This will be done primarily by changing the staffing structure, moving from an expensive second full-time priest and a part-time admin assistant to a full-time Director of Parish Operations and a part-time Assistant Priest. We also plan to spend less money on staff singers, perhaps having less Sundays with staff singer support.

A Thoughtful Staffing Plan

Our parish is strong. To keep it that way, we need someone who can keep all of the operational details in hand and we need a strong second priest who will bring preaching, presiding, and relational skills and can represent the diversity important to us. We are hiring for two important roles:

  • The Director of Parish Operations will be responsible for the behind the scenes work that makes SPR’s community operate seamlessly. This full-time position will take over the scheduling of Sunday Ministries and the maintenance of the database from Dan, will take over bulletin and email production from Lydia, and check printing from me, among many other tasks. We have some terrific applicants. Former Vestry member and corporate HR specialist Mel Parks is running the hiring process for us. Applications are due by June 2. The wardens and I will interview and we hope to have someone begin on June 17.
  • The Assistant Priest will work primarily on Sundays, preaching, presiding and doing pastoral care (i.e. spending time with parishioners). We are seeking a woman. I have met with good candidates and hope to have hired by the beginning of August. This position will pay a $12,000 stipend and is very similar to the job that the Rev. Amity Carrubba had at SPR.
  • Christian (Music), Addie (Youth), Monte (Children), Jack (Deacon), Gretchen (St. Nicholas Choir), Lukasz (Sexton), Virginia and Jessica (Nursery), and I plan to continue in our positions.

Yes, this does mean that SPR is going from two full-time priests to one. It is important to realize that we are cutting staffing and that the staff will not be able to do all of the same things that we have been doing. The Vestry did not set out to replace all current functions. Rather, we set out to be the very best stewards of the significant generosity of this parish. We believe this staffing structure makes the best use of the financial gifts we have been given and gives us the best opportunity to live faithfully into our calling.

I am grateful that the Rev. Roger Ferlo will continue in his volunteer role as Priest Associate. Roger served for almost two decades as a parish priest in Georgia, Pittsburgh, and Lower Manhattan and then spent almost two decades at seminaries. He retires this summer from his job as president of Bexley Seabury Seminary. He will preach and preside and is open to pastoral conversation.  Also, Pastor Tom Prochaska is willing and able to help out pastorally at SPR, preaching and presiding occasionally and open to pastoral conversation. Rev. Prochaska's family has been attending SPR for a few years. He himself recently retired after 40 years as an ELCA Lutheran pastor in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. He brings great love for the church and for its people. 

We will also be working on retooling our Sunday ministries, moving from the command and control approach of the last few years that was staff centered to a guild model in which ministries like Ushers and Chalice Ministers have greater responsibility for running themselves. Stay tuned.

St. Paul & the Redeemer invites all, without exception, to know and to respond to the love and grace of God made known in Jesus Christ. What a great privilege! Thank you for your participation in and support of this great calling and this wonderful parish. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me or Warden Harold Olivey ( or Warden Romonda McKinney Bumpus ( with questions, concerns, or ideas.

With gratitude for this parish and its people,

The Rev. Peter Lane



Parish Meeting This Sunday, May 21

Following all three liturgies on Sun, May 21, the Rector and Wardens will be hosting parish meetings in follow up to the Annual Meeting held in January.  New staffing structures and a new budget for the future of the parish will be discussed. 


Construction Update

Last Sunday, we ceremonially began demolition by taking a chunk out of the front steps to the church. This week, work has begun with crews removing asbestos from the lower level.


Cereal Sunday Next Sunday, May 28

Next Sun, May 28, support the Food Pantry by bringing a box of cereal. The Food Pantry serves community members from across Hyde Park and Kenwood, providing healthy meats, produce, and canned goods at no cost to the guests. Join in celebrating the work that we do by bringing a donation. 


Is Someone in Your Family Graduating? 

Please email Lydia and let her know the name of your graduate and where they are graduating from. We will give thanks for graduates on Pentecost. 


Families with Small Kids BBQ

SPR families with small kids are invited to a BBQ! Join us Sat, June 17, 4-7p, at the home of the Osbourne family, 5029 S. Dorchester Ave. Bring the kids along as this is a family time for mixing and mingling. For more information, email Monte.


Registration for Vacation Bible Camp 2017

Registration for VBC is now open both online and in print form for ages 4-10 years old. Vacation Bible Camp is scheduled for Mon, July 31 - Fri, Aug 4. To sign up online go to Paper forms can be found in the Narthex, then either place them in the offering basket or leave them in the office. 11 year olds and above may register as counselors by speaking with Monte. We are also still looking for volunteers to work with the 2017 VBC Team. If interested, please email Monte.


Job Opening - Director of Parish Operations

SPR seeks a Director of Parish Operations. This up to full time position comes with health and pension benefits. We seek a detail oriented employee who will run administration, communication, and parish coordination. Interested? Talk to Warden Romonda McKinney Bumpus, Warden Harold Olivey, or Rector Peter Lane. Also, get more information at


Sign Up for the Women's Retreat

Make time this fall to come to the 6th annual SPR Women’s Weekend Retreat October 6-8! In a beautiful setting in Woodstock, Illinois, you will make new friends, deepen existing friendships, and have the opportunity to reflect. We encourage you to register early to secure your participation for this weekend designed especially for SPR women. Registration forms are available on the table in the Narthex. If you have any questions, please contact one of the SPR Women’s Retreat Leadership Team: Kim HartVal Cavin, and Mary Naftzger


Summer Youth Mission Opportunities

SPR Youth will be offering two options for youth mission opportunities this summer. (Yes, you can choose both).

Detroit, MI | August 20-25, 2017
How does inter-religious dialogue inform our own faith? This August, we are headed to Detroit, MI to learn about inter-religious dialogue and allyship. We'll also focus on how we can better equip ourselves to fight against Islamophobia in our own community here in Chicago. We will be visiting the community of Dearborn (the largest Arab American community in the country) to dine on Middle Eastern cuisine, the Arab American Museum to learn about intersections of identity in the Arab American and Muslim communities, and a variety of Detroit faith communities to inform our own faith practice!
Pricing | $250; Full scholarships available.
Interested in registering for the SPR Youth mission trip? Sign-up here.
New Wilmington Mission Conference | July 22-29, 2017
Mission Conference is a week long immersion into global service for all ages. The conference hosts mission workers from all over the world in the small college town of New Wilmington, PA. (In fact, each year Addie creates the high school curriculum for this mission conference--bonus fact: Addie and Dan got married in the Conference Amphitheater last year!) Mission Conference is great for anyone looking to deepen their relationship to service in the world. A typical youth group member interested in NWMC would be independent, excited for mission, and ready to branch out for the week to immerse themselves in the NWMC programming (aka, freedom!) Check out NWMC here
Pricing | Middle Schoolers: $340; High Schoolers: $390; $120 scholarships available. 
nterested in registering for New Wilmington Mission Conference? Sign-up here.


Volunteer with a Refugee Family

We are excited to announce the beginning of SPR parishioner visits to the family from Eritrea that we are helping to sponsor in partnership with RefugeeOne. Visits will occur once a week through September and alternate between Saturdays from 10am to noon and Wednesdays 7pm to 9pm. The schedule might change, subject to availability. If you can volunteer to make at least two visits any time through September, please contact Bob Bator ( or 773 930-7124).  


Pastoral Drop-in Hours with Dan Puchalla

Going through a difficult time? Have questions about God or want to work on your prayer life? Just want to chat? Drop by the Byllesby Room to talk with Dan Puchalla, Associate Rector, any Tuesday between 4:00 and 7:00p. As always, you're also invited to contact Peter ( or Dan ( at any time for pastoral conversations.