I read this statement at the end of worship, Sunday, February 9.
As many of you know, we scheduled a called church conference today to vote on our 2014 budget.
Last Wednesday, we discussed the proposed budget for 2014 which included an additional reduction of $20,000 from last year’s budget, which had already been reduced $55,000 from the year before. The Finance and the Personnel Committees did a great job in coming up with a proposed budget based on the money we anticipate to receive this year.
We had a lively discussion that took almost two hours, and at the end, those who attended the meeting didn’t feel comfortable presenting the proposed budget for a vote this Sunday, and recommended that we postpone a vote on a budget.
Here’s my take on the discussion meeting and the rationale for postponing a vote on the upcoming budget.
First, we honestly acknowledged that our pledges have plateaued and our total contributions have decreased 12.3% since 2011. This is not a sustainable trend.
Secondly, we affirmed that we are a people of faith, and God has already given us the resources needed to fulfill God’s mission in our community and our world.
Thirdly, instead of despair and pessimism, we ended the meeting with a lot of positive energy as the group decided to face this challenge head on.
Therefore, the group decided it best to postpone the vote of the originally proposed budget today. Instead, they suggested we provide everyone the opportunity to increase their 2014 pledges with a goal of raising an additional $75,000, which would get us back to the level of contributions in 2012. Whatever additional pledges are received will be allocated to the 2014 budget proposal at the discretion of the finance committee.
Please be in prayer as you consider your part in achieving our goal of $75,000 by February 28. In the pew racks are pledge cards for you to take and return if you would like to revise your pledge or pledge for the first time. You can also submit this information via our website or by calling the church office (434) 293-5106.
Our finance committee will come back at the end of March with a revised budget based both on our financial response to this challenge and on our long-range vision for the church. In the meantime, the Finance Committee recommends that we operate for the first three months of 2014 at the level of the 2013 budget.
Please know that what we’re doing is only a stopgap measure. We have been given a wake-up call. In order to fully reverse this trend in our generosity, we must begin to renew our vision and our mission. Why do we exist as a church? To what mission is God calling us? What does God’s future for UBC look like?
In recent weeks, I have already begun addressing these questions with various leadership groups in the church, and I will give a more detailed report in my “State of UBC” address this Wednesday night (6:15 pm in the Choir Lecture Suite), and in my sermon this coming Sunday. God has plans for UBC. Opportunities abound. This is an exciting time to be at UBC, and I invite you to join us in this journey!