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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need a refresher on reading the new giving statements produced by Breeze, please refer back to my April Blog post.
Most of you are current with pledges and I thank you for your steady support of the church. If you find that you have fallen behind over the summer, now is a good time to catch up.
The annual pledge drive for the 2020 operating budget is coming to a close. Thank you to everyone who has made their pledge. For those intending to pledge, please do so by the end of October so that the Board can arrive at a 2020 operating budget in November. With pledges making up 75% of the church income, your pledges are essential information for developing the budget.
As I am writing this, I am energized by the October 20th Worship Service. The wonderful music by the Dr. Johnson Jazz Trio, the hymns, and the sermon complemented each other in reinforcing the message that plans are uncertain and so we live our hopes in the present. As we focus on discerning what matters to the congregation, let us approach the future with humility about our plans and remain grounded in caring for each other in the present.
Overall, the actual income and expenses relative to the budget are continue to be what we expect for this point in the year. Being lay-led for the first half of the year, with a full-time minister starting in August, the church’s expense cash flow for the year is uneven but consistent with the budget.
Income from donations and investments is generally tracking the budget. Pledge donations are slightly behind, as is normal coming out of the summer. Rental income continued to be strong in the third quarter, for the reasons previously discussed. Some of this income is rental deposits on weddings being scheduled for 2020.
With the exception of utility costs, expenses are also tracking the budget. Rate increases for Water and Sewer costs have pushed these costs about 10% over budget. Saying cool this summer used a bit more energy than last year, pushing the electric bill up a little as well.
During third quarter, share the plate donations provided $1679.21 for Casa San Jose, $981.98 for UUPLAN, and $1,222.76 for No More Deaths (UUCT) My thanks to the congregation for their generosity.
2020 Draft Budget
I’d like to give a brief perspective on how the Board arrived at the pledge target. After a decade of declining pledges and membership, both the amount pledged, around $410,000, and the number of pledging households, around 190, appears to have stabilized. We appear to be on the cusp of returning to modest growth. This is consistent with nationwide trends observed by the denomination.
On the expense side, the draft 2020 budget has a $67,000 increase over 2019 and a $47,000 increase over 2018. The main contributions to the additional expenses are returning to having a full time minister, increased utility costs of about $4300, and providing cost of living increases plus slightly larger increase for the lowest paid employees to move them towards a living wage.
On the income side, the budget has a $33,000 increase over 2019, including an increase in rental income based on strong 2019 performance, allocation of $7,500 from the funds raised in the spring fantasy auction, and the increased pledge target of $425,000.
In spite of this, the draft budget does have a $17,500 deficit. After working hard to get to a balanced budget for 2018 and 2019, the Board has decided that at this key time of transition, we need to make an investment in our future by allowing modest deficits for 2020 and 2021. Based on the actual 2018 surplus and my estimate for a 2019 surplus, the church has about $32,000 to cover these deficits.
The preliminary budget is a tight budget with few good options for tightening. Falling short of our pledge target will mean a larger deficit. This congregation is blessed by your generosity. To the extent possible, please join me in digging a little deeper and increasing your pledge to attain the $425,000 target.