Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Report to the Presbytery, September 27, 2016

Financial Planning requires good communication!

Several different financial reports were distributed to the September 27 meeting of our Presbytery, including a First Reading our 2017 Presbytery Budget. I would like to talk about money for a moment.

Per Capita Assessment: Per Capita is a very dependable and important source of income from our congregations to the presbytery, the synod and the Office of the General Assembly. But I must share with you some difficult conversations which we have had at our Administration Committee. Because Per Capita is such a precise formula, we would like to think that it makes our budget consideration easy. Just plug in the total Per Capita assessment for the year; we know that number. The problem is that we do not receive all of our Per Capita from our churches, and we do not know how much we will receive. So the 2017 Budget has an income number for Per Capita that is only 86% of the total Per Capita for our presbytery, this is the percentage we actually received from our congregations the previous year.

There is a report on 2015 Per Capita giving in your Presbytery meeting papers. Of course, we are grateful to the 33 congregations that contribute their full Per Capita. You will also see there are a number of congregations that do not contribute their full Per Capita. The problem is that not one of the congregations who were not able to contribute their full Per Capita actually communicated that fact to us in 2015. This makes our financial planning very difficult.

I believe this is a very healthy presbytery; there are very good and trusting relationships among us. We know each other. We want to be connected. Please communicate with us. I encourage your session to have a conversation about Per Capita, and please make a commitment to it. Please communicate your intention to us! This is doubly important since our Presbytery is committed to contributing our full Per Capita contribution to the Synod and the General Assembly whether or not we receive it from our congregations. This creates a significant deficit for our presbytery.

Mission Support: As you know, our Presbytery is not only financially supported by Per Capita but also by your Mission Support. Unlike Per Capita, we do not define the contribution amount. This is fully a session responsibility. It is the area of Mission Support that we are seeing the great shift that is changing the whole church.

Shared Mission Support: We have congregations that continue to be generously committed to Shared Mission Support. Thank you! Our Presbytery has approved an 80/ 20 sharing percentage. If you make a Shared Mission gift, 80% is used to support the Presbytery; 20% is used to support the General Assembly Mission Agency.

Designated Mission Support for the Presbytery: We now have congregations that are moving away from Shared Mission support and are making what we call Designated Mission gifts in support of the Presbytery. Very simply these gifts to the presbytery are not shared. All of your Designated Mission gifts in support of the Presbytery are used in support of the Presbytery.

I am asking each congregation for three things:
Please support our Presbytery both with your Per Capita contributions and your mission support. Our Presbytery does good work, and the Presbytery is worthy of your support.

    Please understand our funding system and discuss your support at your session. If you look at our Budget proposal, I am asking you to study and understand Notes 1, 2 and 3 which I provided there.

Please communicate with us. Please tell us your intentions with both Per Capita and Mission support. Communication builds trust; communication builds community. Like every year, we will be sending out pledge forms to each congregation. Please communicate with us.