Due to the failing economy and a decline in attendance numbers, The Chapel in Akron, Ohio needed to make budget cuts. They had to trim $760,000 from their staff budget … which meant laying off people that they loved. Here is a letter that they gave to those affected—after, of course, telling them the news in person.
We have taken over a month to pray and talk together about financial restructuring. We have prayed and talked at all levels—with our leadership team and Trustees, with all the staff and with the congregation. Though not easy, we have sought God’s wisdom for us in a challenging situation. Every staff member is valued and highly prized. Yet, in a 5-year decline in attendance, our finances have also declined. In close discussion with our Trustees, we are trimming more than $760,000 from our staff budget.
We solicited ideas from many people about how to do this restructuring. We looked at many options and considered every suggestion given to us. In this process, we had to make extremely hard decisions. We had to realign people and positions. We asked for sacrifice from every department and every position was examined. We did a challenging analysis of great people that we love, while realizing that we have a limited budget. We took into account many factors in the decision for each person.
All in all, we are downsizing sixteen positions and not filling another six vacant positions. We accepted retirements from three people and the voluntary reduction of pay that some offered. We restructured departments and realigned 15 people. For example, we merged the Care and Seniors Department; we merged our Community and Sports Departments.
These changes have affected you. We are sorry for the pain that this will bring—and the challenge to you and your family. We have tried to be generous with severance. And, we are praying for your next steps. We have lined up an Akron firm to lead a two-day seminar for outplacement issues for all affected staff. For the full-time pastors, we also enlisted a national leader in staffing and giftedness to help them determine their next steps. We are available to talk with you about these issues and we are looking for God’s best in your next steps.
Please continue to pray and worship with us as we serve Christ in the days ahead,
Paul Sartarelli, Senior Pastor
David Fletcher, Executive Pastor