Commendable Stewardship at Midyear.

Good news–but good news you didn’t hear if you didn’t receive a giving statement. So, I wanted to use the Pastor’s Perspective space this week to let you hear from Finance Chair Carol Ghere and myself regarding our midyear report on the church’s finances. First you have Carol’s report, and then my own…..

July 1, 2015

Dear UUMC Church Members,

I decided that a theme for this letter would be “Let’s Keep Doing What We’re Doing! I am pleased to let you know that our financial picture is a good one! At the beginning of the year the Finance Committee suggested to the Church Council that in order to not exceed our budget in 2015 that we reluctantly would need to make some changes in operations. We reduced our staff having the office covered part time and did not replace our custodian, using a cleaning service in its place. We gave up our weekly newsletter, which we now only receive once a month, to reduce office and printing expenses. Weekly emails have helped keep us up to date on what is going on. We made efforts to reduce utilities by closing off some areas of the church during the week. And guess what? It worked! Almost all of our expenses have been reduced and we are well below budget for 2015! In addition to cutting costs, our congregation has given generously in 2015 and our income is on track to exceed expectations. Pledges are up to date and special giving has been exceptional!

We have done all of this while continuing to be part of vital involved church in the community. Nathan’s weekly sermons on “The Twelve” have helped us all understand and appreciate the windows in the sanctuary while examining our own lives of faith. The Fine Arts Ministry continues to be a leader in making UUMC a wonderful place to be. The production of “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” was a special family fun night. They also continue to support the Raging Lambs by transporting fans to the Monday night baseball games and the music lovers to the concerts on Guthrie Green on Tuesdays. The children’s garden is growing and already yielding vegetables to share and Bible School is starting July 20th. In June, twelve church members participated in Project Transformation and were blessed by reading with some pretty spectacular kids.

We have much to celebrate and to be grateful for. Attached is your 2nd Quarterly giving statement. Let’s “Keep Doing What We’re Doing,” both in our financial support of UUMC as well as participating in activities and giving of our time and talents to church activities. We did not budget for any of the apportionment giving this year. Over the next few months we will be having a fund drive as we have in the past to encourage extra giving to support those apportionments most important to you.

Grace and Peace,

Carol Ghere, Finance Chair

July 1, 2015

Dear Church Family,

It has been an uplifting experience to see the financial contribution reports over the past few months. We have really pulled together to assure that our church is able to provide a taste and sight of God’s Kingdom to the community. Along with cut costs, we’ve also had increased giving. In fact, a few of the months this quarter we saw giving above our budgeted income, which puts us at a nice year to date pledged income figure for the end of the quarter: just over $107,000, which is what we had budgeted to receive at this point. (This is especially noteworthy in that it is our typical “habit” to see a lagging figure at midyear because many wait until year end to fulfill their pledge.) I’m so thankful many of our supporting families have opted to get the funds to the church in a more regular fashion so that we can breathe a little easier through the high utility expense months of the summer. We’ve even had one of our very generous pledgers already contribute double what they had pledged. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Alongside this pledged income, we’ve also had a very healthy non-pledged income to date. While we had budgeted to receive $19,250 by this mid-year mark, we have actually received $24,617! Isn’t that wonderful?! Around $10,000 of that was a special gift to the church from a member who had decided to more than tithe on the estate of a deceased parent. What a tremendous way to commemorate the fact that our loved ones now reside in the “church triumphant.” It is inspiring to hear of such gifts—and if it perks your interest in making some estate plans that include the church as a beneficiary, you should know that many of our departed saints made this generous final act of faith; it is a tax-free way to insure your estate goes where you want, and we benefit from the resources they have left us every day!

Along with that good news of increased giving, you should also know that we’ve been making changes that result in savings to our budgeted expenses as well. We’ve decreased hours at staff positions, looked for ways to more wisely utilize our facilities, and cut back on publications and mailings over the past few months, and that has resulted in underspending our budget in every line item with the exception of maintenance and insurance at the end of May. Though we have seen such decreases, I don’t believe there has been significant drop off in quality of programming, nor in our facility usage. In fact, we now have a larger boy scout troop here on Tuesday nights (around 30 boys—they’re gone to Philmont at the moment); a Narcotics Anonymous chapter that meets 4 times a week and celebrating sobriety every month; a bustling Emergency Food Pantry that served 329 children, 303 adults, and 38 seniors in April and May with the help of 100 volunteers and 4,535 pounds of food; an English Club of around 12 students and sponsors meeting weekly and helping international students feel comfortable in their new surroundings; an Adult Children of Alcoholics group with around 10-20 people meeting each week; and 40-50 young children in our Summer Camp administered by Karen Cody and many of our preschool teachers. All that value is given to our community through the open doors of UUMC for which you help provide. And that’s just the “weekday stuff” that happens on a regular basis—we’ve had fantastic music on Sundays, an awesome musical theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a new softball season up and running with 24 people on our roster, Bible studies, art projects in worship, 2 graduating seniors awarded scholarships through our Keiser Endowment—I could go on, but I’ve run out of room! The point is, we’re active, we’re fiscally sound, and we intend to stay that way! You make it possible—so thank you.

In Christ,

Rev. Nathan Mattox