from Jeff Wood, President of the Congregation
May 19, 2014
Dear Members of Grace,
A regular meeting of the congregation will be held on June 1 following the 11 o’clock service. Nursery care and a light lunch will be provided. According to the church bylaws, the June meeting is for the purpose of reporting on the budget. The agenda for the meeting is included at the end of this letter.
We will hear a brief update at the June 1 meeting on the progress of the repairs to the church tower. As most of you know, the Save the Tower appeal succeeded beyond expectations and received pledges well over the $1,200,000 goal. Over $800,000 of this amount has been contributed so far. We anticipate completing the repairs in fall, and we would hope to receive the pledges by early 2015 in order to pay the contractors without the need to borrow. I am deeply grateful to all of you for your heartfelt contributions towards saving the tower.
Some of you have inquired how we should handle any funds contributed in addition to what is needed to complete the repairs. First, 10% of all funds that are contributed will be provided to the designated benevolence organizations. As agreed by the Board of Trustees, the Board of Finance, the Save the Tower Committee, and the Church Council, after payment of all designated expenses, any remaining funds will be held in an appropriate endowment or escrowed fund that will be designated specifically for repairs and maintenance for the tower and the building structure. This is a prudent measure to help the church complete the recommended tuckpointing and other maintenance of the building in the future.
Additionally, during the June meeting we will hear a short report on the work of a new ad hoc committee that was formed to consider school funding. Several factors suggest that improvements to the current funding system could enhance budget planning, sustainability, transparency, and efficiency. While we want to examine school funding methods and consider improvements, the Church Council continues to fully support the school and its compelling ministry of education and Christian faith formation, and will proceed cautiously and deliberately to achieve minimal disruption and maximum efficacy.
The Church Council created this committee specifically to perform the following charge:
• Carefully and objectively study the efficacy of various methods by which Lutheran elementary schools are funded, including contributions, tuition, financial assistance, other methods, or combinations of these;
• Educate, and solicit and obtain meaningful feedback from, the congregation and school families about this topic;
• Make a recommendation to the Church Council on whether, and if so, how Grace should change its funding method; and
• If any changes are approved, work closely with the congregation and school families to implement changes.
The committee is co-chaired by Cathy Ruggeri and John Bouman. Additional members of the committee are Jennifer Brayton, James Claud, Case Hoogendoorn, Tom Johnson, Lonni Kehrein, Tom Maxwell, and Lyle Mortensen. Ex officio members are Pastor Bruce Modahl, Principal Bill Koehne, and myself.
As the council’s resolution indicates, this will be a thorough process that will involve multiple opportunities for the congregation and school families to provide feedback about these methods and to learn about any proposed recommendations. The council has decided that it will not implement any significant change without approval of the congregation at a future regular or special congregational meeting. Changes, if any, will not be implemented until the 2015-2016 school year.
Finally, as required by the bylaws, we will review and approve the proposed budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. This budget is the result of careful consideration by the Budget Committee and review and approval by the Church Council. You may obtain a copy of the proposed budget after May 20 and prior to the congregational meeting from Karen Christopher, church administrative assistant (708-366-6900, ext. 207; firstname.lastname@example.org).
I look forward to our meeting on June 1.
1. Opening prayer and devotion
2. Review and approval of minutes for January meeting
3. Report – status of church tower repair project
4. Report of school principal – retirements and new teaching staff
5. Report – School Funding Committee
6. Financial report
7. Presentation and approval of the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget