from Jeff Wood, President of the Congregation
May 23, 2013
Dear Members of Grace,
A regular meeting of the congregation will be held on June 2 in Fellowship Hall, 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. In addition, there are two matters that I wanted to highlight.
First, we will hear a report at the June 2 meeting on the condition of the church bell tower and the critical need for reinforcement and repairs. Last fall, preliminary engineering work was done to repair dangerously loose stones in the tower and to thoroughly assess the condition of the tower in order to ensure its long-term preservation. The assessment showed a need to undertake significant repairs, replacement of stones, and building reinforcements. We need to improve and stabilize the foundation for the tower by installing pilings underneath the narthex.
We anticipate undertaking this construction work in the spring, summer, and fall of 2014. The work should not be delayed. The cost for this work will be approximately $1 million. As we anticipated, this cost is substantial and will exceed the capacity of our operating budget. Members of the Church Council and a small task force will be considering ways to plan for this expense and we anticipate reporting to the congregation at subsequent meetings. Please feel free to discuss this with the pastors, church council members, or me if you have any questions.
Second, as required by the bylaws, we will review and approve the proposed budget for the 2013-2014 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 prior to the congregational meeting from Karen Christopher, church administrative assistant (708-366-6900, ext. 207; firstname.lastname@example.org).
The budget proposes salary increases for the Church and School staff at a rate of 2% with a $1000 minimum, and a rate of 3% for hourly staff.
Grace Lutheran Church is committed to tithing from our contributions to support important ministries in our community and around the world. Our benevolence budget is based on a tithe: it is 10% of contributions. In the past, this calculation included 10% of contributions from both church members and non-member school families, but it has not included a tithe from certain other contributions, such as bequests or donations made directly to a custodial fund (such as the Cantata Fund). The budget proposes treating contributions by non-member school families the same as contributions to custodial funds. Like the cantata program and certain other custodial fund items, the school is a mission of the church and is supported by non-members along with members. The school is an important way that we bring in and build up disciples for Jesus Christ. Often, non-member school families become members of Grace.
The Church Council unanimously supported the proposed budget along with this updated calculation. The impact of this revision in the calculation of the benevolence budget would be a budget savings of $55,000. This would result in a benevolence budget of $229,000, which is approximately $35,000 less than this year’s benevolence expenses of $264,000. While this is a necessary and reasonable decrease, it will reduce the overall amounts provided to our benevolence organizations, causing a decrease in the number of organizations we support and in the amounts provided to various organizations. The overall benevolence budget, however, remains at a significant amount – a tithe (10%) of our members’ contributions.
I look forward to our meeting on June 2.
1. Opening prayer and devotion
2. Review and approval of minutes for January meeting
3. Report – Activities of the volunteers committee
4. Financial report
5. Report – Grace Church Bell Tower
6 Presentation and approval of the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget