Each week in October we are taking a few minutes to share about the finances of the church and how you can be a part of what God is doing here. Bill shared an update last week on how things currently stand here at the church with our financial reports. This week we will take a couple of minutes to share what we heard from many of you on the financial survey that went out, and some initial responses. We can’t share every comment, but here is an overview.
Can we have more communication about finances? Yes! We are working on having quarterly updates here in church, monthly updates in print and over email, and making the full financial report available at the church for anyone who would like to review it. We will also work with finance to include information on emerging financial needs at the church.
Do we have enough to repair the building? Right now, we don’t have quite as much as we would like for the building. We have a capital improvement reserve and our budgeted money, but the reality is this building has a lot of more expensive needs related to the roof and air conditioning right now.
Are we meeting our obligations and can we provide raises to the staff? We are currently meeting all of our obligations - our finance committee makes sure of it - and we are hoping if we get enough pledges to provide a small cost of living raise for the staff in 2023.
Have we thought about a capital campaign? Yes! We were in the planning stages for a campaign before covid changed our course for a while. Finance and stewardship will be talking more about this possibility as we get back to normal.
How is the money divided between programs?
What is the cost per member to run the church?
Glad you asked! Later this month we will be sharing a printed and emailed communication that includes a narrative budget and breaks down our budget on how we spend the funding in different ministry areas.
What about special funds and designated accounts?
Can I see the full church budget and accounts? Yes! This information is public, we just don’t distribute it because it would take a large amount of paper. But we can absolutely make this available to you by request.
Do we have financial safeguards in place like multiple money counters and review by an accountant? Absolutely. The money is secured on Sunday and then counted by multiple counters in the office. We have multiple accountants in the church family who sit on the finance committee and consult on financial matters for the church.
When is the budget presented to the congregation for approval? With our Presbyterian polity, budgets are approved by the session, but we will make sure you have a copy of the budget for next year as soon as it is approved. The budget is usually finalized at the January session meeting, so we can distribute it in late January to the congregation and be available for any questions.
What about the George Street property? Could we sell some of it? The city continues to be in discussion about the possibilities for a small part of the George Street lot. The elders want to make sure the church maintains the amount of parking we need and gets a fair payment for any additional land we might sell. If a recommendation is made by the elders to sell a piece of the property, this would come to the congregation for a vote.
What about the foundation? Another great question! The foundation is separate from the church’s finances and helps people in need. They will be sharing more with you at a minute for mission in January!
Could we have more sermons on money? Sure! (I promise we didn’t plant this question- someone really asked) We will have a month long series next year talking about the biblical teaching on money.
Finally, the survey asked why you give. People shared their love for this church and its ministries, how much the church means to them, and how they want it to be here for another 140 years! They also shared how important it is to their walk of faith to give, that every gift, no matter how small, can make a huge impact through the work of the church, not only here but also through the mission partners we support in the community.
So thank you for asking good questions, answering the ones we asked in the survey, and thank you in advance for pledging your support for next year.