October 30, 2023


 Yesterday, on Reformation Sunday, I had the honor and joy of participating in the 135th Anniversary celebration for South Highland Presbyterian Church (Birmingham). It was a beautiful worship service with glorious music, a stirring sermon by Ed Hurley, and a presentation to Dana Waters making him Pastor Emeritus for South Highland.

 It was also the day they received their 2024 pledge commitments. Yes, it is that time of year for many churches when congregants have the opportunity to express their generosity and love of the church’s life and mission by making a financial pledge. It’s that time of year for the presbytery, too!

 Please see this communication from Tom Bryson for the Finance Committee:


 Hello to our friends and colleagues of the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley,


I am thankful to Sue for this opportunity to tell you about the hopes of our Finance Committee for the year 2024. I am so proud of the work our committee has been able to do over the last few months and happy to share our proposal with you all. We are truly thankful for our staff and all of the great work they do. As part of the 2024 proposed budget, (that will be discussed at our November Presbytery meeting) we would like to show our gratitude with a 3% raise for our staff. As you well know, this does not keep pace with inflation over the past two years but it will alleviate some of the financial pressure our staff experience. Our hope is to offer an increase of $200 a year to our wonderful coordinators as well. After a long and prayerful look at our budget, we believe this is absolutely achievable. The staff is indispensable in helping us accomplish our mission to equip, nurture, and connect our congregations and to further our Matthew 25 commitments to building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, and eradicating systemic poverty.

Good news, we can provide these salary increases without adding a penny to per capita. We are proposing no increase for the year 2024. Per Capita totals will remain the same under our plan. We are asking for each congregation to consider an increase to their mission giving for 2024. We know that some congregations will not be in a position to increase this amount but even a small increase can be helpful. An increase of 3% to mission giving would put us on solid ground and help provide stability to our shared ministry. 

Please speak to your finance team, your minister, your session to see if an increase of 3% to mission giving is achievable for your congregation. A small increase will make an amazing impact as we continue our work together. Our mission to partner with and equip faith communities to serve Christ in our region is strong and our leadership is strong. Your support means everything as we seek to do our very best.


Thank you for your ministry and consideration,

Rev. Dr. Tom Bryson

Finance Committee of the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley


 Thank you, Tom Bryson and the Finance Committee for your prayerful work on this.


As ever in prayer,


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