News From the Steering Committee

The Steering Committee met via Zoom on July 13 and August 3. Here are some highlights:

Due to the changing health situation, face coverings are once again required for ALL in the church at St. John’s. They are optional outside, such as in the courtyard. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will conform to all regulations of St. John’s, the Episcopal Diocese, the city, state, and CDC.

Advance reservations are no long required for attendance at St. John’s. Seating remains socially distanced, six feet apart. Capacity in the church is now approximately 60 people. There should be ample seating for everyone who comes, in designated spots for 1 or 2 people. You may continue to sit by yourself if you wish.

Our hybrid liturgies are going well, with about 25-30 participants each week at St. John’s and a similar number on Zoom.

We could use more volunteers to serve as readers, sacristans, and coordinators. Please contact Larry Caputo (Larry4Card at aol.com) or any Steering Committee member.

We are planning a homecoming party at St. John’s after liturgy on September 19, in the courtyard with refreshments.

We are also planning a special anniversary celebration with refreshments after our anniversary liturgy at St. John’s on October 24, also in the courtyard if weather permits.

We approved a budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which runs from November 1, 2021, through October 31, 2022. It is very similar to the budget we had before the pandemic. We are in good financial condition, but we hope to maintain or improve weekly collections (in-person and online) and our Advent and Pride appeals.

The Diversity Outreach of Dignity/New York (DODNY) has some exciting ideas for community activities starting this fall. We will keep you posted.
Steering Committee elections are coming up in September and you will be receiving more information soon. Please consider whether you would be interested in serving on the committee, or if you would like to nominate someone. At least five spots will be open. Steering Committee meetings will continue to be held via Zoom for the foreseeable future.

A Note about our Finances and the DignityUSA Leadership Stabilization Fund

Last year, the Steering Committee received a request for support of DignityUSA’s Leadership Stabilization Fund, along with a detailed proposal and financial report. The purpose of the fund is to ensure that DignityUSA continues to have capable and effective executive leadership for the next five years. Other large chapters and major donors were also approached, and many have already made significant contributions.

The Steering Committee believes the finances of DignityUSA are well managed and the request is a reasonable and necessary one. Also, we firmly believe that the work of DignityUSA is vital to the success and stability of our local community. DignityUSA, especially through our Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke, is our connection to other Dignity members and communities across the US, our link to other progressive Catholic organizations in the US and around the world, our respected voice in national and international media, and a source of support and resources for our local community in many different ways.

After discussions stretching across several meetings, the Steering Committee voted unanimously to contribute $20,000 to the Fund over four years, in installments of $5,000 each. Because of the generosity of our members and friends over the years, a large bequest received some years ago, and a substantial increase in the value of our investments held as a prudent reserve, the Steering Committee believes that this contribution is well within our means and will not have a negative impact on any other needs or priorities of our community.

As we are all aware, the past year and a half have been extraordinary in many different ways. As we begin to emerge into a new era, our finances will adjust to meet new needs and priorities. We are anticipating several major events next year, including Dignity/New York’s 50th anniversary, a return to in-person Pride celebrations, and an in-person DignityUSA national conference in San Diego.

We plan to support all these activities, as well as others that may emerge from discussions within our community. One of the Steering Committee’s goals for the coming year is to develop a strategic financial plan that will allow us to maintain a prudent reserve while making the most effective use possible of our financial resources. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months!