(Adapted from Covenant News, October 2019)

Every year in October, we find our focus shifting to the financial needs of the church. On October 6, the Congregation came up with a realistic and workable budget for 2020.

One key element of our income involves pledges and gifts. The Stewardship Campaign begins, this Sunday, October 20, and we hope that you will want to “invest” in First Congregational Church— spiritually, energetically, and financially. Included with this greeting are two forms for your use. The forms are
1.  what we’ve come to refer to as a Pledge Card for making a financial commitment, and
2.  a new form for a formal commitment of your valuable time and skills to the church.

You can find paper copies on the table in the narthex at church or click the buttons below to fill them in online. Please consider both of them prayerfully. We hope you will reply with them by Consecration Sunday, November 10, when our worship service will center on consecrating our commitments for 2020.

An electronic Proposed Budget Summary is available online, either by clicking on the image at right. Otherwise, printed copies of the budget are available from the office and (on Sunday morning) from the Narthex table.

When the 2020 Budget was approved on October 6, we acknowledged that turning to the endowment beyond our Bylaws-based 4.5% annual withdrawal is not a fiscally sound method of meeting our operating budget. But it will be necessary for a few more years, and plans are coming into place to diminish our dependency on the endowment.

Last year, a Strategic Planning Committee was tasked with looking at how our church facility can best be used to maximize “use of church” income. This work continues and shows great promise for the future. The professionals we have conferred with say that whatever actions we take won’t have a financial impact on our income for two years. That means we need to continue to use our endowment as an investment in our future with the payback occurring down the road when our plans are finalized and implemented. Our final Strategic Plan will include growing the endowment fund and stabilizing our budget. These efforts are also already in motion.

Additionally, there are some things that are desired and needed but not covered in the budget. The Three Ministries and the Professional Staff have begun developing a list of items Special Off-Budget Projects. The list is being compiled with the idea that individuals (or groups, or families) may decide to cover the cost of a specific item, event, or portion of either. Each time something is paid for, that item or event will be removed from the list and designated, “achieved.” If you have a suggestion for something you would like to see added to the list, you can submit it to the appropriate Ministry or to the Office for consideration.

Meanwhile, once again, please prayerfully consider your gifts to the church in the coming year and complete the included forms so that they match the skills, time, and financial gifts you feel moved to offer your faith community. Your reply is requested by November 10, when we consecrate them together in worship.
We have much work to do in this next year. I am excited that there are plans to help us accomplish that work. These plans are doable because of the accomplished and committed people that we have working on them. We are a very special congregation with a very special mission before us.

Together in Christ,
Mark Edwards, Moderator