11/17/2010 9:42:00 AM Budget manager is asset to Beaverton parish
Holy Trinity Parish photo
Holy Trinity business manager Kenya Palmer and Father Dave Gutmann foster an atmosphere of collaboration.
Clarice Keating Of the Catholic Sentinel
BEAVERTON — When financial problems arise at Holy Trinity Parish, Father Dave Gutmann runs to Kenya. Not the country. The business manager extraordinaire. Though, he points out, not many troubles arise with Kenya Palmer at the helm of parish finances.
“She is a gem,” the priest said. “Her 25 years of experience in upper management at Nike give her a skill set that is a huge asset to the parish.”
For more than 10 years Palmer has worked at the parish and she has been a part of the worship community for nearly two decades.
In this parish, the pastor, office staff and administrative council work collaboratively to be prudent stewards of the personnel, financial and capital resources. An ongoing planning process means they revisit the master plan annually and update it based on growth and needs, to ensure it’s always a useful guideline in determining parish priorities.
Father Gutmann and Palmer have regularly weekly meetings, but check in with each other regularly on projects that affect all aspects of the parish community.
“Father Dave and I have developed a relationship based on mutual respect,” Palmer said. “It is a communication model that is based on continually looking for ways to go from good to great in all aspects of parish and school life, realizing there are always areas we can do better.”
Often, Palmer’s dog Lacie comes to work with her, and livens the spirit around the parish office. Both the priest and the business manager have “type A” personalities. They set the bar high and aren’t satisfied with mediocrity, Palmer said.
It’s careful management of parish resources that helped the parish pay off a new church building six years after construction, and also float through hard economic times such as these, Gutmann said.
“Our parishioners know we are being very responsible. The trust level is high,” he said.
Attendance is also high. Weekend Mass attendance at the church in Beaverton is now more than 2,000 people during four services.
Transparency is how this parish operates.
“I’m not sure that’s the truth at many other parishes,” Palmer said. “We keep our books open, and any questions that come up, we are glad to answer them. We try to be good stewards of not only finances, but all our resources.”
Thanks to Palmer’s “recession-ized” budget, the parish has been able to maintain programs and staff through the past several years of economic downturn. The parish also doesn’t charge for any of its programs, and doesn’t hold fundraisers during the year other than the offertory and the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.
Buildings are in good condition because Palmer ensures what maintenance needs to be done is done, Father Gutmann said.
“I’m a better pastor as a result of working with her,” he said.