Memo from Council President, Lynn Bulger

RE:  Budget Committee Meeting on December 8, 2018

To:  Bethlehem Lutheran Church members

In Attendance: Pr. Jean, Lynn Bulger (Council President), Darlene Fernelius (Treasurer), Margie Shea (Financial Secretary), Pat Gum (Council Member), Pr. Paul Hanson, Jan Harper, Connie Sider

A.  Thank you to everyone who turned in a “pledge” card!  There were 22 responses from the appeal letter that was sent out to 75 households prior to the December 2, 2018 Congregation Meeting.  The cards were also available at the meeting.  The majority of the responses were to maintain giving.  There did seem to be some confusion about what exactly was being asked for.   We were looking for amounts we could add or subtract to the 2018 donation amount to estimate what 2019 giving would be. 

Pledge Card 1 Up An example for clarification would be:  Your current offering is $20 a week.  If you felt like you could increase your giving to $35 a week, you would have filled out section A on the top line to increase weekly giving by $15 (x 52 weeks for $780 Annually).  Another example is:  Your current offering is $100 a month.  If you felt like you could only give $75 a month in 2019, you would have filled out Section C using the bottom line to decrease monthly giving by $25 (x12 months for $300 Annually).

If you feel you need to change your amount or would like to complete a “pledge” card, please contact Margie Shea.

B.  Attached is the proposed budget for 2019.

Explanation of Changes Made (changes made are denoted by an “*” in the far-right column):

  1.  Pastor’s Salary, Pension, Retirement & Health Insurance amounts were supplied from Portico Benefit Services to reflect 2019 rates.
  2. Supply Pastor was bumped up from $1,050.00 to not only include vacation & sick days and Synod Assembly, but also 1 Sunday for Continuing Education and 2 Sundays for Christikon (Youth & Congregation).
  3. Insurance Expense/Liability Property was decreased by $200.00
  4. Vanco Charges were increased from $200.00 in 2018 to reflect more people using the electronic giving option.
  5. Benevolence to the Montana Synod was increased by $1,000.00 to account for the 2019 rate of 6% of Current Receipts and Loose Offerings.

Considerations regarding the Proposed Budget of $103,444.48:

  1.  This Proposed Budget, as of December 8th, has not been voted on by the Council.
  2.  Pr. Jean is current with the Salary Guidelines from Synod.  Her status would be full-time to reflect her letter of call
  3. There is not a consensus that the proposed budget is reachable.
  4. The budget remains barebones as in the past few years.  There will still be a need for in-kind giving.  Major expenditures (such as new carpet in the Sanctuary, etc) will need to be brought forward to the congregation for approval/funding.
  5. A serious commitment is needed from the congregation in money, time and other resources; especially, if moving forward with Evangelism and/or alternative sources for income.
  6. The council and Pastor have healing work to do.  Recommendations from the Montana Synod Consultation Team, include:
    1. working on healthy communications
    2. establishing “Best Practices” where needed
    3. re-examining Pr. Jean’s Letter of Call and making adjustments as needed to make it up-to-date
  7. What happens if we continue to have cash flow issues?

In nice round numbers (figuring 52 Sundays per year):

The budget of $103,444.48 breaks down to:
$2,000 per Sunday
On average, giving in 2018 was:
$1,700 per Sunday
To function in 2019 within budget*, we would need increased donations of:
$300 per Sunday

*Note:  this assumes closing 2018 with a balanced budget.

C.  Another generous $10,000 donation has been pledged to Bethlehem Lutheran Church for early 2019.  This will absolutely help our bottom line, but cash flow will still need to be closely monitored.


Proprosed 2019 Budget 12082018 Page 3