We are currently midway through the 2024 fiscal year. Following is the state of church finances in two parts.

This first part deals with the budgeting of recurring income to the church, which includes pledged income, offering plate, unpledged (income with a name attached but not pledged), preschool building and other building use, and $55,000 from the Endowment fund. This is our operating income, which is used to cover annual operating expenses including ministerial and staff salaries and benefits, recurring facilities and administration costs, worship, and various ministries.

As of the end of May, we have collected half the pledges and half the offering plate income. Most unpledged income shows up at the end of the year; we have received 20% which is on trend with past years. This part of church finances looks good. We are recovering attendance and pledge units from the pandemic and the upheaval in ministerial leadership.

This is where people may feel there is a conflicting message. While the church has seen an increase in income, this increase does not totally cover the annual operating expenses. Not mentioned above is the $35,000 in cash reserves that is typically held for irregular expenses but, instead, is supporting the 2024 budget. The goal of the Finance Committee is to not use cash reserves to cover annual operating expenses.

This brings us to a second part of financial management: irregular expenses and cash reserves. Dating back to federal pandemic relief funds (payroll protection program funds received in 2020 and employee retention credit funds received in 2023), and as recently as carryover from unexpected surplus from the 2023 operating budget, the church’s cash reserves have increased substantially. These require careful management outside of the annual church budget.

FCC has irregular expenses for which reserves have been approved in 2024 by the board, including audio-visual upgrades and improvements, kitchen expenses (a new commercial dishwasher and water heater), a mandated elevator safety test, and pastoral search expenses. In addition, it is time for the church to have a CPA do a financial review or audit. The new church bylaws require a review/audit at least every 3 years.

In summary, as of mid-2024, the church programs and necessary expenses are covered by the budget. The board and Finance Committee continue to work toward a long-term sustainable budget.

Larry Flick, Treasurer