Thursday, August 27, 2009

Financial Crisis and the Church

Friends, I write this with a heavy heart because I know, as your pastor, how this will affect you. Our church is facing a serious financial challenge as we enter the final third of the year. I am calling the entire church to be in prayer about this, seeking guidance from the Lord and wisdom.

At the beginning of the year we passed a budget in our special Church Conference (every member invited to attend and vote) that included a line item called "Faith Income." That line was set at over $35,000 in order to "balance" the budget. Unfortunately, now that we are in August, not very much has been done to address that income line. Only something over $2000 has come in to be applied to that "Faith Income" line.

Our congregational giving is doing pretty well. We stand at 95% of budget in that area, so you are all to be congratulated on that! Even in these tough financial times, your faithfulness in giving is outstanding! But since we have not had a functioning Finance Committee (because no one has stepped up to be the Committee Chairperson), we have not conducted any major fund raisers to try and address the needed additional income. Our expenses have been right on budget. But our income has not. Currently our arrears in income correspond almost exactly to the deficit in that "Faith Income" line item. To put that in black and white, we are behind our budget in income by about $18,500.

Thankfully we have funds on account so that we can keep our bills paid and obligations met. But, obviously, we cannot continue in this direction if we hope to remain solvent. Your Board of Trustees and Church Council are doing what they can to address this issue, but we need more than just these groups working on it. We need all the members of the church family to consider ways to address the problem. If we cannot find a way to "stop the bleeding" we may have to make some serious and deep cuts in the budget next year, possibly even having to cut staff in order to balance our budget. I know that no one wants to do that, but it is a possibility. There is even the possibility that we might have to drop down to a part time pastor if we can't find other ways to balance the budget.

So please hold this issue in prayer. I'm asking all CUMC members and friends to earnestly seek the Lord in this matter. We need His guidance and wisdom. If you hear anything from the Lord, please communicate with Pastor Glen, Church Council Chairperson Mac Brazelton, Lay Leader Frank Cookingham or Trustee President Mike Proffitt. And come to church on September 13th as we go to our knees together as a congregation in a "Concert of Prayer" on this and other matters.

Thank you for your faithfulness!


Pastor Glen

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