By Peter Wall, CFO
The first six months of 2020 (maybe even seven, by the time you read this) are done and gone. That means I have enough information to give you a mid-year financial report for our church.
So where do we stand?
Let me start with a broad recap of the budget that you the congregation approved at our annual meeting on January 26, 2020, way back in pre-pandemic times. First, there was a theme for the budget, which was “investing in the children.” Based on that theme we budgeted to hire a paid director of Christian Education, and to pay for classroom assistants. Second, we budgeted to set aside $7,000 in anticipation of the sabbatical that is written into the call of our Pastor. Those were the significant “new” things in the budget. Overall, we budgeted income of $353,026 (including $186,500 in pledged giving, $31,000 in identifiable giving, and $11,950 in loose offerings and other giving; $63,700 from facility use fees; $27,575 in endowment transfers; and $14,100 from fundraisers), and expenditures of $352,796 (which is a difference of $230, allocated as “Reserves”).
Starting from the approved budget as a baseline, there is bad news and there is good news.
The bad news you probably already know: this year has not gone the way any of us expected. Because of the pandemic, we were not able to hold our major fundraiser, Jazz on Van Ness, and facility use fees are way down (but Head Start and Amazing Grace Ministries are both continuing to pay as agreed, and as budgeted). Because of those two things, income for the first half of the year (January through June) was $23,121 less than we budgeted.
The bad news continues on the expenditure side. Because our in-person activities have ceased, it has been a struggle to figure out how best to serve the children. We still do not have a paid director of Christian Education, and we have not needed to pay classroom assistants. As well, most of our Ministries have not been spending at the rates they expected. Overall, expenditures for the first half of the year were $29,105 less than we budgeted.
Before moving on to the good news, however, I want to pause and acknowledge the seriousness of the bad news, particularly on the expenditure side, and particularly given the budget theme of “investing in the children.” We should all be concerned about the kids right now. Their opportunities for healthy social engagement are significantly reduced, and we as a church have struggled to find ways to overcome that problem. All of the children, all of the people who work with children, and Candice Blair, the chair of our Ministry of Christian Education, and Tracy Bright, who is chairing the search committee for the paid director of Christian Education, need our prayerful support in this difficult time.
But here is some good news: giving remains strong! During the first half of the year, pledged giving, totaling $97,111, was 100.63% of what we budgeted and identifiable giving, totaling $15,547, was 100.29% of what we budgeted for that period. Despite all of the bad news, that strong giving means that, for the first half of the year, we were $12,523 to the positive (in other words, that much more came in than went out). And those numbers do not include more than $15,000 that was given or raised to feed the hungry, both through the pantry and with home-cooked meals. We also don’t yet have the final numbers for Creativity on Virtual Van Ness, the fundraiser intended to help replace Jazz on Van Ness—but I can say preliminarily that you will be impressed.
Finally, there are a couple more things to report. First, to help ensure that the congregation’s wise decision to set aside money for the pastoral sabbatical will be honored in future years, we now have a separate account at the bank for that money, and we are transferring $583.33 into that account every month. The balance at the end of June was $3,500, which was right on track with budget. Second, because the money coming in and going out to feed the hungry has been significant, and to provide greater transparency, we also have a separate account at the bank for the pantry fund. The balance at the end of June was $16,712. In addition to those balances, our general cash balance at the end of June, which basically is our operating funds, was $17,760, and that good position has been holding steady. We have not yet made any unbudgeted transfers from endowments.
That good news is not a reason to stop or slow your giving. The second half of the year could still hold expensive surprises. As well, we are still in the process of purchasing new video equipment to improve the quality of our online services, and we are still working to hire a paid director of Christian Education. We could still get to the end of the year and find that expenses were far greater than expected. And, as I have said before, we need to be well-positioned to spring back into a wounded world.
We have lots of challenges, and our own practice of generosity helps to lay a strong foundation for meeting them. In mid-July, giving progress statements were mailed to everyone who both pledged and had given during the first half of the year, together with a letter from the chair of the Stewardship and Sustainable Growth Committee. Please review those things carefully and consider how you can best continue to support the work of our church.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by email at [email protected].