St. James’ Budget Process

The St. James’ Budget Process It All Begins with a Letter…

Part One: Funding Requests

In early August, a letter goes out from the Parish Treasurer to every staff member and volunteer leader responsible for looking ahead and considering what St. James’ should spend to fulfill our mission in the upcoming year. Included in that letter are the following directions:

“Your request should be accompanied by a detailed listing of your sources of funds and planned expenditures for [the upcoming year].”

“If you are requesting an increase from the [current year’s] budget, please attach a detailed explanation.”

Here are those who receive this letter along with the budget items for which they are responsible:

Finance Committee Parish Treasurer, Wardens, Rector, Assistant Treasurer, Parish Administrator, 6-8 lay leaders

  • All staff compensation and benefits, including clergy discretionary

Outreach Committee Outreach Chair, Associate Rector, Assistant Parish Administrator, 6-8 lay leaders

  • All Outreach expenditures to Jackson area ministries supported by St. James’

Buildings & Grounds Committee B&G Chair, Wardens, Rector, Parish Administrator, B&G Manager, 4-6 lay leaders

  • All Property Expenses (repairs, services, supplies, equipment, utilities)

Parish Life Committee Parish Life Chair, Associate Rector, Curate, Assistant Parish Administrator, 6-8 lay leaders

  • Expenses and income of parish-wide parties (Shrove Tuesday, Halloween, etc.)

  • Newcomer ministry expenses

  • Young Adult Ministry expenses

Adult Education Committee Adult Ed Chair, Rector, Associate Rectors, Curate, Assistant Parish Administrator, 4-6 lay leaders

  • All Adult Ed costs (Sunday Speakers, curricula, Day-By-Day, confirmation gifts, etc.)


  • Vestry & Staff retreats

  • Pledge Drive expenses


Parish Administrator

      • All Office Services (postage, equipment maintenance, telephone, etc.)

      • All Financial Services (bank charges, audit costs, line of credit interest, etc.)

      • All Institutional Insurance

      • All Wednesday Supper and other kitchen costs and income

Assistant Parish Administrator

      • All Communications costs

Office Manager

      • Office Supplies

      • Pastoral Care costs (mostly meals delivered to those in need)

      • Shawl Ministry

Organist & Choir Director

      • All music, organ and choir costs

Early Childhood Ministries Director

      • All Nursery costs, including Nursery personnel

      • All St. James’ School costs and income (supplies, teacher costs, tuition income, etc.)

Children’s Ministries Director

      • All children’s Sunday School costs

      • All Vacation Church School costs and income

      • All children’s events costs and income

Youth Ministries Director

      • All youth ministries costs (Sunday School, Wednesday activities, special trips, overnights, etc.)

Altar Guild Head

      • Altar supplies, liturgical vestments, baptismal banners, etc.

Acolyte Warden

      • Acolyte supplies (crosses, robes, etc.)

Episcopal Church Women President

      • E.C.W. support

Daughters of the King President

And then things really get going…

Part 2: The Timeline

August – 60-plus Staff, Clergy and Volunteer Leaders Submit Initial Funding Requests

Ultimately, those who participate in this first step in the budget process total about 60 staff, clergy and volunteer leaders. They spend the month of August putting together their budget requests and then turn them into our Parish Administrator by September 1. She then compiles all those requests into the first draft of the new budget for the Finance Committee to consider at their September meeting.

September – Finance Committee Reviews First Draft of the Budget

The Finance Committee then reviews that first draft of the budget, giving particular attention to any changes relative to the current year’s budget. Some questions may be generated at this time regarding initial funding requests. Those questions may lead to some changes in the budget by the time it is then sent forward to the Vestry.

September, October, November – Vestry Prepares Budget for Annual Parish Meeting

The Vestry typically considers latest drafts of the budget at their September, October and November meetings, as edited along the way by the Finance Committee in conversation with all those who made original funding requests. Typically, by mid-October, the results of the fall pledge drive are coming into focus, so there is a growing awareness of what St. James’ will be able to afford in the coming year, based on parishioner pledges. At their November meeting, the Vestry votes on a draft of the budget to present to the congregation at the Annual Parish Meeting. This draft typically represents a fair bit of nipping and tucking so as to get expenditures in line with expected pledge income. However, this draft is also typically hopeful, reflecting what St. James’ could pursue in the coming year should pledge income exceed expectations.

Mid-November – Working Budget Presented to the Congregation at Annual Parish Meeting

The entire parish is now invited into the budget process. During the meeting, the Treasurer, Wardens and Rector highlight any specific changes relative to the previous budget, point to where cuts may have to be made to produce a final balanced budget by January 1, and answer any parishioner questions about the budget, etc. The Treasurer explains that this is a hopeful budget which will only be finalized if pledged income can support it; otherwise, cuts will be made.

December – Vestry, in Consultation with Finance Committee, Finalizes the Budget

Over the course of December, as final pledges trickle in, and final cuts are made to proposed expenditures, the final balanced budget is produced. Typically, that final budget is ratified by the Vestry at their January meeting.