Dear Friends in Christ,
In a continued effort to keep you informed, and to be transparent about our restructuring, I offer an update on this process.
Last week I announced that, driven by our chronic structural deficits, some of our staff are being laid off in the new year. Also, specific contract positions will be reduced or eliminated as we restructure. In line with that, this week I am announcing that the Executive Assistant who works on the bulletins, Hannah Lax, will finish her contract year on December 20, 2023. We will not be renewing the position for 2024.
Also, while it was not part of the restructuring, we learned that our Curate, the Rev. Adam Dawkins, has answered a call to be the rector of a parish in Los Angeles and will be finishing his curacy on February 5th of the new year. Given our current financial position, we will not seek another curate in 2024.
Over the past week, I’ve spoken with those of you who attended my in-person and online Open House sessions. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, questions and concerns with me. Some questions that came up during my meetings with parishioners are likely being asked by many of you. I am listing them here in a FAQ.
Some questions that came up during the Town Hall sessions are:
What is a “Structural Deficit”?
The first point I must reiterate is the Cathedral’s structural deficit must be addressed if we want to continue to carry out our mission in the city and the world. For many years (more than a decade) our budgets were passed by drawing on bequests and transfers from our endowment fund to cover shortfalls in operational expenses. The Cathedral's circumstances simply cannot permit this any longer. The Trustees have explored, at length, all possible options to try to cover the deficit without significant restructuring. The magnitude of these structural deficits (in the hundreds of thousands each year) is much larger than any decrease or increase in individual giving we have experienced over the recent years.
How do we carry out our mission with a reduced staff team?
The remaining clergy will be taking on some new duties in addition to their existing ones. We will also hire some staff in new roles. It may seem like the math doesn’t add up: cut four functions, add three. However, the new roles will have different duties, pay structures and fewer hours. Most will be hourly positions, at living wage, without a complete benefits package. Some will only be added as our finances allow. Some will not be added until 2025 or beyond. The net result will be a significant cost reduction while continuing to live out our ministry.
Why not offer these new roles to the staff being laid off?
Labour laws aside, the eliminated positions are mostly director or manager-level. The staff in those roles have training and skills that make them uniquely qualified to be directors or managers of the areas entrusted to them. Most of the new positions will be entry-level or non-managerial roles. Some will require very different skills and certifications. As much as I wish I could keep working with these staff members who have become trusted collaborators, we cannot hold talented staff back from opportunities better suited to their level of expertise.
The staff who are being laid off are being laid off because our finances dictate it. The elimination of these positions is not a reflection of the quality of their work or their suitability for the Cathedral. In January, we will plan ways to thank them for their time with us. We are not celebrating their departures; we are giving thanks as a community for the time and talents they have shared with us.
What will happen to St. Brigid’s?
St. Brigid's service remains the same. The Rev. Clare Morgan’s title will change. Even though the title “Pastor to St. Brigid’s” will be removed from their title, they will still be the primary point of reference for St. Brigid’s service. I decided to expand Clare’s role to include digital ministry because St. Brigid’s has already started exploring how to be a digital church. Online, St. Brigid’s has been a leader in our church, and I want Clare’s role to encompass both of these areas. St. Brigid’s remains an integral part of the Cathedral’s life and mission, and this title change is meant to honour that and intentionally focus on digital and creative ministries.
What about the search for a new Director of Music?
The search for the new Director of Music has been budgeted for. Rupert has been open with trustees and myself for several years now about his intentions to retire. That gave us time to prepare and budget for the costs of a search process and hiring the next Director of Music. The search for the next Director of Music is proceeding as scheduled.
Was the Rev. Melanie Calabrigo substituting for the Vicar during the Vicar’s maternity leave?
The Rev. Melanie Calabrigo has been a part-time clergy team member since 2021. This year, she has served as Staff Chaplain and spearheaded our Indigenous Reconciliation work. This is separate from the areas our Vicar oversees. It does, however, impact our budget. At this time, we cannot carry this additional clergy position.