Monday, April 27, 2009

Laid low

Since returning from Bilbao I have developed a cold. It hasn't made the return to routine all that easy. Instead of feeling well rested after ten days leave, I feel sapped of energy as my body fights off the invasion. The daily news is full of concern about Mexican swine 'flu, so naturally jokes about my miserable condition reflect that anxiety. Airline flight magazines tell us that on-board air conditioning filtration systems reduce the concentration of viruses in cabin air compared with that breathed on the ground. It's little comfort when one has to spend so much time waiting, queuing, and maybe eating and drinking in public places often at close quarters before arriving in such a cleaner environment. I'm annoyed to have caught something on holiday, rather than in the course of work that brings me into close contact with the public. There's so much it's impossible to control in life.

Sunday was hard going as a result, of feeling poorly, especially with the Parish AGM to chair after Evensong. It was a good meeting at the end of a big year of achievement in work done on the church. Now we are challenged with adjusting our sights in the light of the recession, looking at and planning carefully future expenditure on running costs. It comes as a surprise to discover just how much it costs to open the door to lots of events from public voluntary bodies. We think we are welcoming and generous, and they think they too are being generous in return, with donations and charges in place. But inflating costs take their toll over a period, and this is capable of undermining the church's economy, rather than helping sustain it, unless we keep a very careful check, and share our concerns with outside users well in advance.

Having said that, it's interesting to list the church's different sources of income. I quickly listed eight, and there may be more. Such diversity assists long term economic stability, even if there are times when we never seem to have enough money to do properly what we'd like to do. It's so different from commercial enterprises which may focus narrowly on particular strands of supply and demand, profitably, so long as demand persists, but when it doesn't disaster strikes.

Times On-Line currently has an essay by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on the significance of traditional Sabbath keeping. It touches on the danger of basing an economy on artificially stimulated desires for products, and reliance on credit for satisfaction - taking the 'waiting out of wanting', as the Access Credit card of the 1970s used to proclaim, to my annoyance. You can read it here. It's well worth pondering.

No comments: