Maybe not the most exciting headline I’ve ever written, but definitely information that congregants—you, the owners of the congregation—ought to know.  Every year in March the Administrator, in conjunction with the Executive (the policy governance role of the Lead Minister) and the Finance Advisory Committee, produce an operating budget for the next church year.  Then,

  1. That budget is reviewed by the Board of Trustees at their April meeting.
  2. Revisions are made if needed.
  3. The revised budget is presented to the congregation online as a slide deck and in person at a Budget Town Hall for review by interested congregants. That meeting will occur on April 24 following the worship service.
  4. Revisions are made if needed.
  5. The final proposed budget is accepted by the Board of Trustees to be presented at the Annual Meeting on the first Sunday in June for the congregation’s members to approve by vote.

How is the budget created?

We need to estimate both income and expenses for the next church year (July 1-June 30).

To estimate income, we look at all income sources and try to make sensible projections for them.  Since payments on commitments make up about 85% of our income, the closer we can predict that, the more realistic the proposed budget will be.  THAT’S WHY WE WANT YOU TO GIVE US YOUR COMMITMENT NOW!

To estimate expenses, we

  1. Produce a worksheet that compiles all of our personnel expenses from wages and salaries, to hours worked, to tax payments, retirement benefits, and more.
  2. Use those personnel figures in a “master budget sheet” that lists all the expense line items we use and their estimated totals for the coming church year (things like utilities, cleaning services, all building and office administration costs).
  3. Send out budget requests to all leaders of programs of the congregation. These include program areas like faith development, justice ministry, worship, music, etc.
  4. Input all the estimates and requests (projected expense lines and all budget requests) in the master budget sheet.
  5. Confer with the Executive and the Finance Advisory Committee on how to make adjustments if expenses on this first look exceed income. The Executive may consult with anyone else she desires to help with this decision-making.
  6. If adjustments are needed for program areas, discussion is initiated with the affected program leaders.

By the time of the April Board meeting, the proposed budget will either be balanced (income = expenses) or we will identify ways to make up the difference (we never come out with too much income!).  This could happen by asking congregants to reconsider their commitments, or by intentionally including a transfer from our Contingency Fund, or both.  At the present time our Contingency Fund holds a little more than $200,000.

So that’s the way it goes.  You’ll get more information about that Budget Town Hall Meeting in April.  In the meantime, if you want to see how we’re doing compared to our budget for this year, here’s a link to the Operating and Expense portion of the Finance Report as of January 2022.

Linda Topp, Director of Administration