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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Looking backward, the actual expenses and income for the first quarter tracked the budget mostly as expected, including the seasonal variations in items like gas and electric utility bills. The one exception was rental and security fee income, which was $1100 below the budget amount of $6,400. This is not a surprise because rentals are usually prepaid. With the church closed as of the middle of March with no expectation of opening in April, the church either refunded or never received the expected late March and April rental income.
Looking forward to the second quarter and beyond, serious deviations from the budget are likely as a result of closing the church and other social distancing measures required by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the Board is committed to continuing to pay the church's staff, expenses will remain largely unchanged, with only minor savings from having the church closed. There are some unplanned expenses associated with enabling the church to shift to streaming the Sunday service. This is includes both infrastructure expenses of about $1,800 so far, paid out of small capital and equipment reserves, and expenses of about $700 for streaming training our volunteer technical crew, diverted from the Sunday Speaker's budget.
However, a reduction in income is certain. While the church remains closed, obviously there will be no rental income for that period and are we unlikely to recover any of that lost income. Further, once the church reopens, continued social distancing will reduce rentals for the church due to cancelled events and fewer groups meeting in person. Similarly, there will be no income from the church's commission on the sale of Giant Eagle cards while the church is closed, since there is no way to sell the cards. Harder to estimate is the impact on the church's main source of income, pledge payments and gifts from the church community. Some families are experiencing or will experience personal and financial hardship due to reduced income, lost income, and loss of other employment benefits, and they will need to reduce their donations to the church accordingly.
As a result of these uncertainties, the Finance Committee recommended, and the Board agreed, to have the church apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. This would help the church keep our staff paid at their full salaries without dangerously depleting the church's cash reserves. I am happy to report that the church was approved and today received $71,200 in funding for the loan. By maintaining full payroll, the church may be eligible for partial forgiveness of the loan, which helps even more. To put this loan in perspective, remember that the church's budgeted pledge income is $386,500, so even a 10% reduction is a large amount, and the lost income from rentals and Giant Eagle cards will likely be between $10,000 to $15,000.
As you can see, the church remains heavily dependent on donation income. Please continue to make your pledge payments if you are able to do so. The Board and I are grateful for your continued support.
Claus D. Makowka