Giving statements for the first quarter (January 1 to March 31) have been sent out electronically or will soon be sent out by mail. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me via email at email@example.com or call me at 412-681-9579.
I am celebrating the resilience of this religious community as we find new ways to support our mission with the church closed in this period of strict social distancing. Sunday worship services now stream on YouTube and groups continue to meet using Zoom. Even with the building closed for events and staff mostly working from home, the building is being maintained and some staff and volunteers come to the building to complete essential tasks, always taking appropriate precautions. The Board is committed to continuing to pay our staff in this difficult period. Our community can do this.
I appreciate the many people who continue to support the church financially with their pledge payments, gifts, and virtual plate contributions, including a little extra for the Minister's Benevolence Fund known as Marion's Purse. If you are experiencing reduced pay, no pay, or layoffs during this crisis, please don't worry about making pledge payments until your finances recover.
Let me begin by saying that Rev. Connie, the Board, and I recognize that some members of our congregation are dealing with reduced pay, no pay, or layoffs in addition to all of the social stresses of this pandemic. If that applies to you, please don't worry about pledge payments until your finances recover. Nor need you take precious time to email me about suspending your donation, unless you need my help to stop or reduce an automatic payment. If so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of us with the good fortune of a continuing income, if your practice has been to put your donation or pledge payment in the Sunday collection plate, welcome to the virtual collection plate! You can still donate in one of the following ways:
Please also consider making an extra contribution to Marion's Purse / Minister's Benevolence Fund so Rev. Connie is able provide some support for congregants with financial emergencies.
Thank you for your continued generosity in these challenging times.
Claus D. Makowka
This article repeats information presented at the annual Congregational Budget Meeting on December 8.
The church is in a period of transition. Change is demanding work and requires extra resources, both spiritual and financial. We hope that the church is helping you find those additional spiritual resources. In return, we request that you think of the church in your year end giving, to help the church have the extra financial resources that it needs.
Giving statements for the fourth quarter have either been sent out electronically or are being sent out by mail. The statements include information from January 1 to November 30. These statements are intended to help you confirm where you are with your pledge payments. If you have an account for the online directory (Breeze), you can also go to giving page on your profile to see your donations and pledge payment status.
Giving statements for the third quarter have either been sent out electronically or are being sent out by mail. The statements include information from January 1 to September 30. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at church or via email at email@example.com. If you need a refresher on reading the new giving statements produced by Breeze, please refer back to my April Blog post.
The major news of the summer is that Rev. Connie Grant has agreed to serve as interim minister for our church. Along with welcoming an experienced leader to help the church on the next phase of our journey, the finance team and board are also happy that we now have clarity on what the 2019 budget will be for the remainder of the year. While there was no significant difference overall from what we expected, the devil is always in the details and it feels good to have that resolved.
The UUA is advising that several UU congregations have reported that their members are receiving scam emails that are requesting gift card donations for a charitable cause. Religious groups and congregations are becoming easy targets for these types of scams.
Even in this time of transition, the church's fund raising practices remain the same. No staff member or church leader will call, text, or email you asking for an "emergency" donation for a charitable cause. Marion's Purse is our reserve fund for use in these situations, so no one will be called. Donations to the church are only via cash (at events and services), check payable to the church, texting as listed in our order of service, or our online giving page. The monthly Share the Plate during Sunday Service is the intentional way the church collects funds to support community groups.
Welcome to the next step on our journey to the future. Now that your donation information is being recorded in our Breeze Church Management Software, your quarterly giving statements are being sent electronically to the email address on file in Breeze. The church will continue to mail quarterly giving statements if we do not have your email address or if you request a paper statement via postal mail from me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the church office.
As part of this change, the quarterly letter from the Treasurer is becoming a blog post on the church web site rather than an insert (or attachment) to your giving statement. No more paper to recycle and also available for later reference, if you wish. To keep this post from getting too long, I will keep my financial news brief to allow more space for explaining the new giving statement.
I welcome your feedback on how these changes are working for you.
Claus D. Makowka
The church finances continue to be healthy. Our budget in this transitional lay-led period is now clear and I appreciate the work by staff and volunteers that makes this possible. Gifts and pledge payments continue to be strong and the church is also benefiting from healthy rental income. Expenses are in line with the budget. Until we are able to finalize a contract with an Interim Minister, there are some budget uncertainties for the fall and winter. The church's strong financial performance in the first quarter makes me comfortable that the church is in a good position to deal with these.
While lay volunteers are contributing significantly with scheduling Sunday speakers, pastoral care, and event planning, I think we all miss the coordination that a minister provides. I appreciate the dedicated work by church program and operations staff in filling that gap and keeping the church running smoothly. I have been especially enjoying the well integrated services with a diversity of viewpoints in the pulpit and the greater visibility of the Pastoral Care Team.
I am also looking forward to the Fantasy auction. David Doorley and his team have lined up a wonderful array of offerings. Be sure to attend and invite your friends. The funds raised here will help cover the extra Interim Minister expenses not normally in the budget, like moving expenses and special training .
While the new giving statements from Breeze will look a little different, they contain the same information and hopefully are a little easier to read.
The first section will report the status of your financial pledges. Typically there will only be the pledge to the operating budget, listed as General Fund 2019. However, Breeze does allow multiple pledges, say for a Capital Campaign, to be active at the same time, and any active pledges, including ones fully paid, would appear here. Next comes the date range over which the pledge is active. Then you will see something like "$250 of $1000," followed by a percentage The first number is the amount that you have paid towards your pledge, the second is the pledge amount, and the percentage is how much of your pledge has been paid. Below this you will see something like "$750 Remaining," which is the balance remaining on your pledge. The amount given may be larger than the amount pledged if you have made contributions in addition to your pledge. If your household pledged as a family rather than as individuals, contributions from any family member are included in the amount paid toward the pledge.
The next section provides the details of each individual contribution that was recorded by the church during the statement period, January 1 to April 15 in this case. This includes the date recorded (may be later than the donation date), donor, method, fund, and amount. The donor is listed to help households that donate as a family. Following the detail section is a summary section giving the totals given to each fund. There are many ways to support the church with charitable contributions beyond the General Fund for the operating budget. These include the Endowments, Marion' Purse, Khasi Hills Sponsorship, Habitat for Humanity, and many more.
The following notes may apply in some cases: