The Session met on Wednesday, February 22. After committee reports, the primary discussion for the meeting was regarding the 2017 budget. As indicated to the congregation, the Session has approved a budget that is currently more than the pledge income with strong conviction for the goals of the budget and with faith that the budget gap can be closed. The church and Session have reached out to members of the congregation with requests to increase pledge amounts. During the meeting, Chris gave an update on incoming pledges and the Session discussed next steps.
Chris updated the Session that, since the January Session retreat, pledges have increased $64,000. This is a result of 24 new pledges totaling $38,000 and additional pledge increases of $26,000. While this is a significant increase, it continues to be short of the goal.
Additional statistics include:
- Over the past 5 years, expenses have increased only approximately 1.5% annually; however pledges have remained fairly flat.
- Of the church population that has not given, half have moved away or are under pastoral care (elderly or sick/in treatment).
- The vast majority of new members in the last three years have made a 2017 pledge.
- The church has lost several significant donors in the last few years due to death or relocations.
As we prayerfully discern the next steps, we agree that we need to continue communication with the congregation regarding the financial needs of the church, including both mission and facilities maintenance that is becoming necessary. We will continue discussions about how those conversations will continue. Recommendations include communication through sermons, newsletters, testimonials, etc.
Elder, Class of 2017