On January 27, 2018, the Session held its annual retreat at Camp New Hope. Our day together began and ended with worship.
The Session gladly approved four baptism requests from Westminster families for dates in February, April, and May.
The review of the 2017 end-of-year finances was a welcome change from last year’s discussion. Conscientious budgeting and spending by our staff and committees, combined with the generosity of our congregation, allowed us to erase our budget deficit and resulted in a cash surplus. The Session considered and approved a balanced budget for 2018 which fully funds the requests of each of Westminster’s many committees.
This discussion was aided by the Stewardship Committee’s report on the success of the “Taking the Next Step” campaign. As of the Session retreat, pledges for 2018 totaled $1,054,275, an increase over last year’s total by roughly $75,000. That total is expected to rise. The approved budget is for $1,119,275.
The Session heard about the abundance of educational and spiritual opportunities offered by the Adult and Child & Youth Christian Education Committees, and learned of the Youth Council’s planned fundraisers and community service activities. We also heard about two planned mission trips to Haiti in 2018, one focused on medical service and the other on assisting in the Haiti Outreach Ministry elementary school.
From the Worship Committee, we learned that there is an immediate need for 50 more new hymnals. Many elders pledged support for one or more hymnals at the meeting, but there is still a need. Hymnals are $25 each and may be given in honor of, in memory of, or in celebration of a loved one. Details on how to make a donation for a hymnal will be available in the next newsletter.
The Personnel Committee continues to work toward finding a good fit to fill our financial management and property management needs. The current temporary contract with Trinity Concepts is going well on the financial side of things. As a job description is finalized, the Property Management Committee will be included in conversations focused on determining our current physical plant’s needs as well as needs unique to the upcoming capital campaign.
The Session received an in-depth report from the Capital Campaign Working Group, which has been faithfully studying an alignment of capital expectations and aspirational goals for our church. Expenses were examined in a variety of ways and divided into categories. Building on the careful discernment of the committee with probing conversation at the retreat, the elders had confidence and enthusiasm to unanimously approve a capital campaign to fund facility renovations. A capital campaign leadership team has been formed to manage the campaign. Many activities are planned throughout the spring, with a Commitment Sunday scheduled for April 22.
Luke Bumm, Class of 2019
Sally Keener, Clerk of Session