We are embarking on a very exciting time in our congregation. We are trying new technologies in this time of pandemic. We are willing to see what works and what might need to be changed, trying new things and changing directions if things are not working too well. We are building a new physical home for our congregation. We are entering into shared ministry with our new Interim Minister, the Reverend Christian Schmidt. Your Board is being intentional about planning our future, while knowing that we will not meet in person until sometime next summer. While all of these actions result in change which might create anxiety, they also inspire us to think outside the box and increase our comfort level with the unknown. I can feel the excitement when we gather in worship and during meetings as we volunteer in service to our congregation.
We truly need to maintain this excitement as we face our fiscal challenges this year. In an earlier blog post on our website, I mentioned that the Board reflected on the congregation’s fiscal position at our August Board meeting. To be open and transparent, we are struggling financially. The congregation-approved deficit budget is our guide for income and expenses for the year and the Board has already identified additional expenses that increase the deficit over 80% -- from approximately $8,000 to over $14,000. Most of this increase is attributed to paying our ministers for 12.5 months, instead of 12. While Rev. Donna’s contract ends on August 31, Rev. Christian’s began on August 15.
In addition, the bids for our new building construction came in over our budget to the tune of more than one-million dollars. The Sacred Space Team (SST) has submitted a list of items that might be considered for deduction or elimination and have asked the contractors submitting the lowest three bids to identify the potential savings for these items. Before the end of August, the SST will consider the new information and make recommendations on how we might reduce expenses to the Board. We, in turn, will share the possibilities with the congregation and solicit your feedback before we finalize plans for the building. We plan to schedule a Town Hall Meeting in mid- to late-September. Stay tuned.
During these exciting and challenging times, it is more important than ever to stay in relationship, to stay in community, and to welcome others to live this faith with us -- to work toward a more just, equitable, and free world -- to help build the Beloved Community. Connecting while separated is not easy, as we have learned. We must be intentional about staying in and creating loving relationships. I am eager to hear your ideas on building and sustaining connections with members we may or may not know and with the guests whom we have met during our Sunday worship time. What else can we do virtually to be together? How can we grow relationally and spiritually? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to schedule a time to chat. I am eager to hear from you!
Blessings to each and everyone,
Gaye Webb, Board President