I have received many compliments for the new St. Luke Union addition we have committed ourselves to and the result that has been accomplished. A few months ago I challenged the congregation to now allow the Holy Spirit to work in your hearts and embrace where God is calling the church’s mission to bloom. To date we have hosted a Zumba class and several new Cub Scout events. Planned in the future we will host an Eagle Scout court of honor, a wedding, and a summer school camp for Jr. High Students in partnership with Western Ave Community Center. We have also had conver-sations with a home school cooperative and are looking to host our summer Vacation Bible School in conjunction with another area church. It really seems that nothing can stop the possibilities that God continues to place before us and into our hearts.
Except . . . as many of you heard during our Annual Congregational Meeting the proposed budget could not be achieved. The 2017 budget of $265,000 was $25,000 less then we had originally planned, therefore we needed to make deeper cuts than desired in all areas of programs, staff and operation. Speculation as to why we were so far apart from the proposed budget and the eventual actual budget can be found in several areas. We contributed large sums to our building project, several members passed away in 2016 who had contributed very generously, and there have been some church building maintenance issues that were and need to be addressed.
The latest cost to present itself to the Vision & Ministry Council is that in August we were notified by the city that we have an unmetered water leak that we are required to fix. That leak is located in the center of Washington Street and outside of our curb box (shut-off). After many conversations and attempts to discern the logic of this being a St. Luke Union Church issue and not the city of Bloomington, our Alderperson, Diana Hauman, and the head of the water department, Bob Yehl met with Bob Hinthorn and myself.
The result of that meeting was that the city remains stead-fast in their commitment that the water leak is our responsibility to fix. We have received two separate quotations and it is estimated that this will cost the church just short of $10,000. This is money that has not been budgeted and when paid will leave the church reserves with a lower amount than the church Vision & Ministry Council and I are comfortable with.
It has never been my practice to stand from the pulpit and solicit funding for church operation outside of our annual stewardship campaign, but I felt it important that the entire body of faith understand what we will face in 2017. I do look forward to the mission and vision God has placed before St. Luke Union Church and with humility and excitement await what is in store. My question now is what part do each of you claim to partake?
Psalm 136:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
After speaking about the 2017 annual budget for St Luke Union Church for the year 2017, I began to realize that perhaps what was spoken of and explained may have been a lot to absorb in a short time. I would like to explain some of the actions taken by the Vision & Ministry Council over the past several weeks to present a balanced budget.
With a new addition and all of the excitement this new facility has generated, the 2017 proposed budget established itself to reflect that same excitement. The 2017 proposed budget was established in October of 2016, just before the annual stewardship drive, as a goal to accomplish all that we hoped to do in ministry. That proposed budget was set at $290,000, yet we eventually deter-mined that the actual budget must be $265,000 and began to structurally determine where to trim $25,000.
This was necessary to move from a proposed budget to an actual budget
Here are the areas that have been cut or trimmed or remained the same in the 2017 budget. Mission giving remains at 10% of all given dollars and has not been affected. Resource Ministry remains at its 2016 level, yet will only stay on budget if we are vigilant in cost and expenses. To see we stay on track, I have implemented a staff policy that all purchases be approved by me. Worship ministry will see a reduction of $275. Food and Hospitality will no longer have a budgeted line item and will be rolled into Resource Ministry. The Green Team will no longer have a budgeted line item and the Learning Team will see a reduction of $150. The staff will not be given raises in 2017 saving some $5,600, yet the Vision & Ministry Council plans to review church finances on a quarterly basis to see if there is a possibility to offer bonuses. Other staff affected include the letting go of the nursery attendant that will save $1,700, and the reduction in hours of our church Secretary, Jessie Cavitt, from 6 hours per day to 4 hours per day. This hour reduction will save the church $5,450 per year.
The result of the cutting of the 2017 budget has now allowed the Vision & Ministry Council to present a balanced budget while retaining the missional activity of the church. It is my request that we now each need to step up and work in areas to serve the greater vision and mission of St. Luke Union Church. If anyone has any questions about the budgeting process and the cuts that have been made, please feel free to contact a council member or myself.
Peace of Christ,