December Update from the Executive Pastor
As we head into our final month of 2016, I wanted to update you on how we’re doing.
At our annual charge conference with the District Superintendent, our leadership approved a target 2017 budget of $1,856,000. The 2017 budget represents only a 1% increase over the 2016 budget, the product of our lay leaders’ concerted effort to steward the church’s resources and keep costs as flat as possible into the coming year.
Over All Saints weekend, we remembered 20 souls from the congregation and community. We welcomed Bishop Will Willimon of Duke Divinity School as our preacher on November 13. The day before, our United Methodist Women, through their Christmas Marketplace, matched last year’s fundraising total to benefit our local mission projects. We celebrated Commitment weekend with a performance of the High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass with the Chuck Nation Band. Chuck Nation offered this feedback:
“After performing the mass on Saturday night, I was approached by a sweet lady who shared with me the following: She said she had been estranged from her relationship with God for a long while and just could not seem to find her way back. She hadn’t been to church in a long while because of this, but heard about the High Lonesome Mass advertised locally and, loving bluegrass music, was intrigued and decided to attend the night before.
“So she came last night and listened to the Mass. She said the music moved her so much but when the choir performed “Agnus Dei.” “It’s been so long since I felt the glory of the Lord move in my heart, but I felt his power and presence in that music. God spoke to me through that music.”
Thus far, we’ve received 185 financial and volunteer commitments for a total of $852,000 for 2017. Of these, 7 are new commitments, representing $10,000. At this point last year, we had received 240 commitments for a total of $894,000.
In November we took in $116,000 for the Operating Budget compared to $128,000 in 2015. Year to date, we’ve taken in approximately $14,000 less than YTD 2015. We project to end the year with a shortfall of $240,000; however, we estimate conservatively that about $40,000 in our 2016 budget will go unspent. This puts our anticipated shortfall around $200,000, of which $140,000 are apportionments, the “dues” we’re assessed by the United Methodist Church to support the work and administration of the denomination. Contributions to offset that shortfall are both needed and much appreciated.
During November, we welcomed 3 new members and did 1 baptism. Our Kingstowne campus plans to welcome 7 new members in December.
This month we will offer 5 Christmas Eve services here at Aldersgate and also 1 pre-Christmas service at the Lyceum in Old Town on December 22 with a rollicking professional Jazz band as our special musical guests.
We welcome Dennis Perry back from his latest sabbatical on Sunday, December 11. Please make it look like we knew what the heck we were doing in his absence! Which means: Get those commitment cards in soon! As you’re planning tax costs for 2016, we’re happy to welcome your generosity! Help us close the year-end gap.