REPORT OF THE TREASURER
The expected financial storm, successfully fended off during the summer months, struck suddenly and unexpectedly during the month of November. At November 30, a deficit of $226.14 is reported in the operating fund; during the month, the operating fund decreased $2,337.62.
This sudden and serious decline during the month of November was brought about by a drop of nearly $2,000.00 in pledge payments and plate collections with an increase of nearly $1,000.00 in expenses. An even more serious situation would have arisen had not miscellaneous income for the month approximated $500.00.
Changes for the month in other funds were insignificant.
It is quite clear that a financial crisis is now upon us. It is of particular concern to me that such a situation should prevail in spite of all of the following:
- The Congregation now numbers more than 800 members and present facilities are clearly strained to or perhaps beyond capacity; therefore we should expect no further revenue through increased membership;
- To replace the present physical plant would cost at least an additional $100,000; the Congregation should now be benefiting from the lower construction prices which prevailed when the present facilities were built;
- The present long-term debt of the Congregation, which totals some $350,000, is being amortized at the rate of approximately 9% per year; were such financing to be renegotiated today, debt service expenses would rise at least 10%;
- The Congregation is operating against a budget of $115,000, which represents a curtailment from the original proposal and which contains few items which might be significantly reduced without seriously dislocating the church program or reneging on important commitments made to employees of the church.
In summary, I find it very disquieting that we should be facing a deficit condition during a period of high membership and attendance, located in a building constructed at perhaps 80% of today’s construction prices, enjoying long-term financing arrangements which could not be reproduced today, and with a program which is not, in my opinion, extravagant.
Though it is not precisely within my province as Treasurer to extrapolate from these facts, I cannot fail as a member of the Board of Trustees to add the following observations:
- Unless there is a rapid and radical improvement in our financial position, the recent discussions of the Long Range Planning Committee appear quite academic. If 100 present members of the Congregation were to withdraw and organize a separate association, this Congregation would face a serious financial predicament and would certainly not be able to offer any financial support to the withdrawing members.
- I would suggest that our financial results cast serious doubt upon the practicality of the low-key, once-a-year solicitation of funds which is fundamental to the E. M.C.
- I suggest that serious consideration be given to an emergency solicitation of funds. I further suggest that such a supplemental appeal be based upon the notion of a per capita assessment, including each member separately and not pledging units, and that a lower per capita assessment be proposed for children in the Sunday School.
- As a further measure to meet the current deficit, I would suggest that a statement be made during the course of Sunday services, that a nominal contribution from visitors was inadequate; and I might even go so far as to suggest what an equitable contribution might be.
- As a further emergency measure I would suggest that particular efforts be directed towards those persons who are behind on pledge payments; in this connection, I think it would be useful to advise all members of the Congregation that the approximate cost of running this church is $125 per member (not per family) plus $25 for each child in the Sunday School — thus, the equitable share of a family with two children would be $300 per year; I doubt that the majority of members understand the financial realities which we are now compelled to face.
With considerable trepidation I offer one further suggestion for the consideration of the Board: to what extent is our financial position influenced by our pro gram content? Though it could hardly be proven I think I detect a correlation between avant garde programs and low collections. If this is true, and I cannot prove it, the Board of Trustees might well consider the extent to which our program content should be influenced by our financial needs.
James C. H. Anderson Treasurer
Archivisit click here to see financial statements.
Physical Archive: Northwest Box: 01 Folder: 01