Question and Answer Series #19

Called to the Family of Carmel

The Christmas Season has just ended and we will soon be traveling into Ordinary Time. The Church Calendar has for centuries guided our year and been a wonderful touchstone for reflection and discernment. I think that sounds a bit more comprehensive than simply making a New Year’s Resolution. I hope you all had time to rest as well as time with family and friends during the past month and that you are refreshed and energized for a coming year full of blessings. We never know where God will lead us — one of the great mysteries in life.

We are actually starting to wind up our Q&A Series, which resulted from the 2019 Convocation held this past July. Today I’ve included a couple of questions regarding dues and reserve funds in the community. I hope they give you some good information.

Happy New Year to All!

QUESTION:

What is an appropriate treasury balance for a community of 15-20 members? Some members feel there should be a savings account for financial security.

ANSWER:

Treasury accounts will vary depending on the members in the community and how many of those will require assistance in paying for the next on-going formation book, Provincial, Regional, and/or Local dues among other local expenses such as rent for the meeting space. Communities should also have enough in reserve to provide a stipend for their official visitation, money for an occasional guest, or the priest or deacon who helps with your Reception and Profession ceremonies. Communities also collect on the short term for various charitable ministries such as providing local assistance to a soup kitchen, a home for women in crisis, or a pregnancy resource center. These are just a few examples of why a Lay Carmelite Community might need some treasury funds.

In my opinion, if you have funds to cover these possible expenses in a community checking account and still have reserves to consider opening a saving account, that is excessive funds. In past years I have been told that money in excess of $1,000 after all possible expenses are accounted for would be unnecessary.

Although the Annual Report asks for financial information, the Lay Carmelite Office (LCO) does not track or monitor community finances any further at this time. From my review of the recent Annual Reports, very few communities have more than $1,000 in their treasuries at any given time.


QUESTION:

Would it be a good idea to form a mission statement for the Lay Carmelite Community (LCC) to offer direction for the use of treasury funds?

ANSWER:

I think it would be a good idea to document what the community tends to contribute to in some form or another. My own community distributes a list by month of what we can expect the “brown bag” will be collecting throughout the year. It’s also listed in our Newsletter on a monthly basis. I would think this list would be fluid being updated annually or certainly with each new Council. I believe mission statements have a different purpose but I could be wrong on that...

Cindy Perazzo's picture

About the author

Cindy A. Perazzo, T.O.Carm, is the Coordinator of Lay Carmelites for the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary.