Monday, January 9, 2012

State of the Parish

I attended Adult Forum yesterday morning. This had been described on the parish Web site and elsewhere as a “State of the Parish Meeting,” which sounded interesting. I failed to read the fine print, however, which indicated that the discussion was largely to be about financial matters:
State of the Parish Meeting
Please join us this Sunday, January 8 between the 8:45 and 10:45 services to review where we stand financially and address questions and comments from the congregation.
That said, the presentation, by Bob Johnston, with the help of PowerPoint slides, was both helpful and encouraging.

For those who missed the presentation, here are some highlights:
  • We enter 2012 debt free.
  • 2011 ended with a $7,000 surplus.
  • Although more pledges have been received since the last report, the stewardship campaign did not reach its $650,000 goal. (Current pledges were stated as about $581,000.)
  • Present estimates show a $25,000 shortfall in 2012, though the intent is to have a balanced budget this year.
  • The presentation only involved the operating budget, but several off-budget items have been moved into the operating budget. (This improves transparency in the long-run, but made the numbers presented a bit harder to put into perspective.) In response to a question, Bob admitted that this would increase our diocesan assessment slightly.
In response to a question from the floor, Bob said that the capital campaign had pledges of $660,225, with about $90,000 already collected. Exactly how the money will be spent has not been decided, but Bob suggested that a committee would probably be formed for the purpose.

Helpfully, Bob sent me a copy of his presentation, which you can see here. Note that the slides in the appendix were not shown yesterday.

As you will see from Bob’s slides, the full financial accounting of the sort presented in the annual report was not available yesterday. I asked if we would have a session before the annual meeting in which those who were interested could ask questions about the parish’s financials. Bob didn’t have a problem with this—we have had such a meeting in the past, which avoided long financial discussions at the annual meeting. Lou, however, wanted to have such a meeting after the annual meeting. Of course, last year, we avoided discussion of financial issues by Lou’s arbitrarily cutting off debate at the annual meeting. I hope that does not happen again.

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