“If you were unable to attend the Annual General Meeting on Sunday, February 28, 2016, you may not know that the 2016 budget has been refined to eliminate some of the year-end shortfall. In the past few years, we have witnessed debts that have been recurring and even increasing. Session, the Operations Committee, the Stewardship Committee and task groups, empowered by Session have struggled to find a solution to these shortfalls. As a result, a motion was passed at the AGM to identify how to retire the accumulated debt in 2016 - 2017. In the near future, a team will be assembled to recommend how this can be accomplished. More information will be available after the plan has been formulated.” Clerk of Session Blog early 2016
I wrote the above early in the year to advise the congregation of the way St. Andrews’ would change in 2016 – 2017. Everyone attending our church in the past few years could tell you that: attendance is down, finances are strained and many hours of intentional work had not found a solution. Every attempt to explain why has been in vain also. There is hope to this dilemma and I will explain the path forward that many feel will make lasting change at St. Andrews.
Last night: Session, The Operations Committee, the Stewardship Committee and a new Task Group you may not have heard of; called the “Sustainability Task Team” finalized a spirited assault on the issues. We believe that with the program laid out and everyone playing a part lasting results can be made. In order to explain the plan, I’ll need to detail what we see as the obstacles in front of us and then the remedies.
St. Andrew’s is carrying $24,225 plus in debt that has accumulated between 2013 and 2015. This amount does not include additional debt that may be created in 2016. While substantial efforts were made to reduce expenses for the 2016 budget year, the initiatives envisioned as revenue generators in 2016 are unsustainable in the long term. Those initiatives include at least 4 events/fundraising initiatives to be scheduled throughout 2016 with a target of raising $20,000 in revenue. Capital expenditures and maintenance costs need to be compiled and prioritized to mitigate surprises and emergency repairs also. The church has become involved in a valuable outreach program that includes Hope Clothing, a site for a Food Bank depot, Thursday Night Supper and Social, Alcoholics Anonymous support groups and counseling services provided by a community organization. The church needs to determine whether it wishes to provide funding to sustain these outreach programs from its own resources in 2016 and beyond.
Projects/Liabilities Needing Consideration:
Estimates show that budgeted costs will be $10,000 less than anticipated and plate offerings will be 10% less than anticipated. This means $26,000 in Special Event fundraising would be needed to break-even on the 2016 budget. This excludes the cumulative year deficit of approximately $24,225. Due to changes in office staffing, there will be anticipated savings of $6,000 in 2016. Share the Warmth has $14,252 remaining in unspent funds. These funds were donated to St. Andrew’s for the purpose of funding the heating project at St. Andrew’s in 2014.
Various non-endowment funds have positive balances that could be used to alleviate the overall indebtedness. Funds available for capital projects (as of March 31, 2016):
üCapital Purchase Fund - $10,449
ü Share the Warmth Fund - $14,252 (funds remaining from 2013/2014)
üVideo Project Fund - $1,615
ü Capital Endowment Fund - $3,476 in earned income available
The 0% interest loan/grant from Presbytery of Waterloo repayable at 10% of $25,000 principal yearly (we have an 8-year repayment schedule left) needs to be managed in the most advantageous way possible. The roof over the church extension, that house: the offices, gym and Sunday school level needs replacing at a quoted cost of $19,500. Shingles are starting to curl so we recommend that we do it this year before leaks appear. The Audio/Video equipment project with an estimated cost of $30,000 - $33,000 has been approved by the congregation “when the funds are available.” $1,615 has been donated to this project as of March 31, 2016.
Hope Clothing has received gifts and grants that will sustain the organization until mid-July 2016. The current contract of the coordinator has been extended to June 30, 2016 at $590 per month. Sustainable funding needs to be realized. Recurring scheduled maintenance of the Organ needs to be started before damages accumulate. The est. cost of cleaning/adjustment of the organ is $9,750.
The plan to recovery
That remaining funds from Share the Warmth, the Capital Endowment Fund and any giving doors opened in response to the need to re-roof be used to replace the “new” addition roof in 2016 We fundraise specifically for the Organ repair (“Buy a key” campaign) We keep the Video projection system on a “warm pause”. We fund any shortfall in our commitment to Hope Clothing not raised by donations as follows (70% from the Mission fund and 30% from the Memorial Fund). With respect to the loan from Presbytery, we recommend repaying it over the remaining term ($2,500 per year over next 8 years). No use of the balance is currently scheduled. If you will it is a savings account or emergency fund held in reserve. Session endorses the following fundraisers between now and the end of the year:ü A late September Meat Pie sale (estimate of $4,000 in proceeds). ü A late November Christmas Dream/Wish Auction (estimate of $7,000 in proceeds).ü A fun and visible initiative to collect loose change (estimate of $3,000 in proceeds).ü Sponsorship of bulletins (details are not fully developed).Please Note: Session will charter a task team in September to focus on systematic, growth/outreach to the community. Also formally reaching out to those who we do not see at church.
This recovery operation has been brought to you by a group of dedicated individuals and I’d like to tell you who they are:
Members of the Sustainability Task Team are Ray Godin, Jane Neath, Scott McAndless, Ron Paddock, Vern Platt, Steve Marsh, Joni Smith, Donald Paddock and Patrice Wappler.
Cooperating and assisting members include the Stewardship Committee, the Operations Committee, and Session. In every sense this was a team dedicated and detail oriented, working to make St. Andrews’ Hespeler vital and sustainable for another 160 years with Gods’ helping hand. The next step is in the congregations hands to help make the dream a reality. We simply need to work the plan and you are invited to help whenever and however you can.
Rob Hodgson, COS