The Big Picture Plan for Talking about Money from Now through June

The ministers, staff, and Board have been working to make the current financial situation clear to the Membership so that the congregation can knowledgeably determine what it wants to do.  We have scheduled a series of meetings – some voting, some just informational – to clarify and discuss what the community is facing.

First, we are not in crisis. We have no debt, no mortgage. We have considerable reserves and additional endowment funds.

However, this year we have received significantly less pledge income than last year. This decrease in gifts to the operating fund, coupled with unexpected and emergency building repairs, has resulted in an projected  end-of-year deficit of $236,970. Pledges are estimated to come in at $152,688 below budget.

Deficit spending of this magnitude is not sustainable. We all believe that we must either increase our income or drastically cut expenditures. And, realistically, most of an increase in income will have to come from our own increase in gifts to the community. There is no magic tenant around who is going to rent massive numbers of rooms when they’d otherwise be vacant.

Here is the plan for talking and voting on our financial situation.

Sunday, May 13. Voting Meeting.

Agenda:

  • Discussion of current church year deficit and recommended funding of shortfall.
  • VOTE on proposed resolution (see text in blog post).
  • Discussion of proposed FY2019 budget. Staff and the Finance Committee is recommending a budget that takes $0 from unrestricted savings next year. This will result in severe cuts to staff salaries and program expenses if pledges do not increase.

Tuesday, May 15. Regular Board of Trustees Meeting

Based on what the members said at the May 13th meeting, the staff will present Trustees with a recommended budget. The Board will debate the budget, potentially modify it, and adopt a budget that it recommends to the Membership.

Sunday, May 20th. Informational Meeting on the Budget

The Board will distribute its recommended budget and conduct a discussion of its contents with members.

Sunday, May 27th.
Deadline for member-submitted budget amendments.

Sunday, June 3rd. Voting Meeting on the Budget.

Sunday, June 10th. Annual Meeting.
If there is a need for follow-on discussion/voting of the budget, the budget will also be on the meeting for the Annual Meeting.

The financial decisions we face reflect our values and make more important our need to talk with each other about Mission, Vision, and Planning. That work will begin formally in the fall.

About Galen Workman

Galen has been a member since 1982. He most recently served on the Board from 2013 - 2018 and as Moderator from 2017-2018. He is also a member of the board of the Hinckley Fund. He has been Moderator, Assistant Moderator, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Board, on a ministerial search committee, active in social justice activities, and on the Nominating Committee. Galen is married and spends time away from church showing his dachshunds and squaredancing.
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4 Responses to The Big Picture Plan for Talking about Money from Now through June

  1. GINO FORTUNATO says:

    regardless of how we do it, we need to balance the budget! a ‘prayer’ that our revenue will increase is not a way to run an organization.

  2. Howard Oringer says:

    I do not want to do anything that might impact our agreement with our fantastic new senior minister. Everything else is open for discussion.

    • I agree!

      So far, the Board has following Vanessa’s recommendations and plans for next year’s budgeting. As far as I know, there is no sentiment on the Board to do anything substantially different from what the Minister is recommending.

      Both the Senior Minister and the Board will be listening to the comments of the members at tomorrow’s meeting. After the vote on funding this year’s deficit, we will discuss the plans for next year and want to hear what the Congregation thinks of the direction we’re heading.

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