Progress: We are transitioning out of the pandemic environment and back into a full set of programs. The church building is getting more use. Office and programming activities have increased significantly. In 2024 we plan to hire a settled pastor.

Challenges: Increased building use and associated activities cost more money. Government funding assistance during the pandemic has ceased. Custodial needs and costs have risen dramatically. In 2024, we will be supporting 12 months of a senior pastor, instead of 11 months in 2023. Our Youth Minister is in the process of ordination, which will bring a salary increase. There are annual mandatory increases in benefit costs for our employees, as well as potential salary increases reflecting cost of living.

The Need: We estimate a 16% increase in pledges will be required to sustain the ministries we love and the people power to make them happen in 2024. The goal of church leadership is to base the annual budget on pledged income. That is the challenge for the congregation.

Upgrades & Repairs: Our cash reserves assure we can pay for large periodic expenses. Examples include the need to replace the kitchen dishwasher soon, significant upgrades in the sanctuary audio system and video streaming capability, security lighting in our parking lot, plumbing repairs in the sacristy, and carpet replacements. If pledges remain at the current level, we will be forced to use nearly $62,000 in cash reserves to cover just annual expenses. These are funds we can’t use for needed repairs and upgrades.

Sustainable Budgeting: So, is the church broke? Emphatically, NO. Rather, we are moving towards the use of pledged income to prudently construct a sustainable budget. A budget designed to deliver the activities that the congregation values and that brings new people in the door. However, without an increase in annual pledges, delivering the ministries at the projected 2024 level is not sustainable.

Non-pledged income (such as one-time gifts) is extremely valuable and appreciated and is ideally added to our cash reserves to help with large periodic expenses such as mentioned above.

To maintain the ministries you cherish, your pledge on Consecration Sunday is critically important. Increasing your pledge by any amount will have an impact on securing our dreams and goals.

Larry Flick, Treasurer and member of FCC Finance Committee