Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church
“I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me”
I'm a numbers guy. Today Father Winkler, before his sermon, gave us a daunting picture of their finances. They had a cash deficit of $30,000 by 6/11, $63,000 by 6/12, and are looking at around a $135,000 deficit by this coming June.
Meanwhile, they've reduced electricity usage by 50%, switched to volunteers for more tasks like the cleaning, and reduced hours of employees. Still, they have used up almost all their reserves, with nothing left for repairs or emergencies.
Father W did his best to paint the true picture, and I thought he did a great job. In summary, he didn't ask for money, but said that the people just needed to know. He did reiterate that it was 'our problem,' not just the church's.
Since Lake Havasu City is a snowbird destination, it's difficult to tell if the crowd is light or normal. So, is giving down or membership, or both? However, the church was only a fourth full, and dominated by the gray hairs. And while Havasu is a snowbird place, it crawls with younger people because of the lake.
Sitting in the service, I recalled doing the same on Sundays as a kid, and being jammed in the pews shoulder to shoulder. And when we went hunting in Eastern Washington, we found ourselves a church on Sunday and got ourselves to Mass before getting out and killing those pheasants. That doesn't seem to happen much anymore.
The rest of the service played out typical Catholic, but the terrible news weighed on me. How sad that a church this big, the only Catholic Church in Lake Havasu, can't fill up the pews and make it's budget. They have three choices: cut more, get people to give more, or get more people to attend.
Here's a few more numbers:
1700 families call the church their own.
600 families have asked not to have envelopes for the offerings.
Of the 1,100 that do have envelopes, less than 400 use an envelope or check or Internet to support the church.
They say Christianity is like a football game; 68,000 people badly in need of exercise watch 68 people badly in need of rest.
This church needs some people to put on their uniforms.
I left the church distressed. And after visiting 50 churches, I've been about half distressed and half blessed.
It makes me wonder if this church will survive. But our God is a big God.