Special Congregational Meeting – Sunday February 3, 2019 after Worship

Special Congregational Meeting – Sunday February 3, 2019 after Worship

by , President, Board of Management

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Hello all,

I hope this finds you all warm, healthy and well. I’m writing for three reasons:

First, if you have not done so already, please mark your calendars to attend the all-congregation meeting on February 3rd after the service. Myself and other Board members will be there to discuss and ask for your vote regarding the second and third items, noted below. The second presents a challenge, but the third, we believe holds great fiscal promise.

The second item is that the Board will be asking the Congregation for approval to withdraw $17,300 from investments to cover a shortfall only recently discovered in FY18 (last fiscal year). Approximately 70% of the shortfall was due to ~$12,000 less in income being received than budgeted. Specifically, our fiscal year 2018 pledges were down more than $11,000 and Fundraising was down another $4,200. This was offset to some degree by a few income streams exceeding expectations: Collection Plate, Restricted Gifts, fiscal year 2017 Pledges, and Refunds all came in above budget by ~$3,200. The remaining 30%, $5,300, was due to expenses that exceeded Budget. Utilities, Building Repair, and Grounds Maintenance were the primary culprits. We did not have any choice but to pay for these expenses if we wanted the lights to remain on, the furnace to operate and the parking lot plowed.

I suspect after reading the above that many of you will share the reaction I had when I heard this news – how could this have happened and why did we not know sooner? Simply put, we were not able to close the books until mid-November due to a bad confluence of events, including the Board not meeting over the summer and delayed invoice requests. Given it was already mid-November, the Board then decided to set the all congregation meeting as soon as practical after the holidays, the aforementioned February 3, 2019. While the news is disquieting, it is very explainable and I hope you will support the Board in granting this funding request.

Third, and last, we do have some good news. After much effort Dave Showalter, working with our own Jennifer Moore, has developed a business plan that involves using the church space three times a week to offer home schooled students’ courses. The courses will be broken out over three 12-week sessions running from September through May. When operating at full capacity, probably a few years after inception, the business plan shows an operating profit of roughly $20,000 annually. The tentative plan is to start operation in September 2019. However, in order to offer a refined, tested experience for the students (and their paying parents) we are asking the Congregation to allow us to “test-drive” the program this spring. The estimated costs would be $2,000. We would not be charging for the program until the fall, so this initial $2,000 would be considered an investment in the future success of the program.

Hope to see you all on February 3, 2019 after Church.