With the completion of the first quarter of 2024, I reviewed church income in the context of the past two years. The Finance Committee and my term as Treasurer began in the last quarter of 2022. At that time the church was facing an over-extended budget. The Committee set the goal of developing an operating budget built on committed pledges. We wanted to move away from operating budgets built on unknown or hoped-for income from gifts.

The report this month presents a year-long look at pledged versus unpledged and collection plate income.

Unpledged Income is any money received from givers that provide their name but did not complete a pledge card, while Plate Income is the anonymous loose cash received in the offering plate on Sunday during worship. The graphs show how these two sources vary quite a bit from month to month. (graphs to be posted soon)

The Pledged Income graph shows a remarkably consistent (predictable) income over the year. To be sure, pledge payments slow down in the summer and pick up at the end of the year. The 2024 pledges are coming in with the same pattern as the previous two years. The church consistently realizes about 97% of the pledged income.

The church budget is and has been built and sustained by an annual $55,000 contribution from the church Endowment. This has been true for many years. The Finance Committee is working to reduce the operating budget’s dependency on the Endowment. The goal is to use the Endowment as a resource for major one-time expenses, e.g. for major maintenance, program growth, and new missions. The 2024 pledged estimates of giving are about $34,000 less than the 2024 estimated operating expenses. That amount is being covered by the unexpected surplus created from decreased expenses and an increase in unpledged income from 2023. We’re close but it is still a balancing act.

Larry Flick, Treasurer