Clerk’s Report, February 2015

One of Session’s bigger, more time-consuming tasks is to approve the annual budget based on the congregation’s pledges and church needs. An exciting moment during that process was approving the “dream budget” submitted by each of the committees and staff. I’m a bookkeeper, so I probably find this kind of stuff more interesting than most people, but the joy came in realizing that we had asked staff and committees to dream and God, through the congregation, provided for those dreams. The Session spent some time at our December meeting having each liaison report on the dreams and the budget narrative that had been proposed by each committee. A few highlights include: funds that will allow the Denominational Affairs Committee to shepherd any new inquirers about ordained ministry who might ask to come under our care, money to make our facilities more hospitable for guests, more opportunities for congregational care through a cancer care and support ministry, a mission trip to Belize, new robes for children, and facility maintenance, including more reliable wi-fi. We restored some previous personnel cuts and eligible staff received a 3 percent cost of living increase.

An even more exciting discussion occurred around how we should steward the funds that were pledged over and beyond the dream budget. After much discussion in December, prayer over the following month, and more discussion in January, Session voted to follow the Biblical command to love our neighbors as ourselves by dividing the pledges evenly between missions and debt reduction. We joyfully give out of the abundance with which we have been blessed and also remember our responsibility to be debt free as soon as possible. By accelerating principal payments, we avoid paying interest.

We heard a report from the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee. The group is working to discern who God might be calling to be the associate pastor of discipleship. Please pray for wisdom and stamina for them.

A task force is looking at the Sunday morning schedule with an eye on worship, discipleship and fellowship.  Many of you have shared your opinions through a survey. We appreciate it!  Please pray for this group as it develops   recommendations

Finally, we reviewed the rolls of active and inactive church members. Elders and deacons contacted people who had not been active in some time. At the end of the process, the official membership of the congregation stands at 1,377 members.  Many thanks to Maureen Crawley, assistant to Thomas Daniel, for her tremendous work in this effort.