Category Archives: Local Church

Historical Postcards

We’ve collected a number of old postcards. A slideshow can be found below. You can click on the play button to begin watch the show. You can also click pause for a longer look at an individual image, use the left and right arrows to click through individual slides on demand and click hide captions in order to see the whole photograph unobscured. Clicking anywhere else on the image takes you to the gallery homepage.

General Fund Balance

As of the end of November, the general fund stood at -$4,532.92 (that is a negative number). The unaudited number at present is -$3327.57 (better, but still in the red). A few months ago, I took a look at historical trends in giving over a year’s span here at First United Methodist Church and found that although we always gained by the end of the year, when exactly we gained has varied all the way from August to December. We have cost cutting measures going into effect next year that should more than make up the difference, but I still hope, for the sake of the church’s mission, that we can end the year in the black.

To that end two reminders are in order. The first is that the project to install pews in the sanctuary is being paid for out of memorial funds and has had no impact on the general operating fund. The second is that we provide a receipt stating that tithes or offerings were received in 2010 only for giving that is received in time to be deposited in and credited to the church’s account in 2010. Your accountant may tell you differently, but we must go by what our accountant tells us. We’ll do our best to make sure any last minute gifts make it in before the deadline.

Good Samaritan Fund Established

At the last meeting of the Finance Committee it was decided to combine the Food Pantry Fund and the Emergency Assistance Fund into one fund and call it the Good Samaritan Fund. This was done because the two funds share a very similar purpose. If you want to designate your gift to one purpose or the other we will still do our best to honor your wishes.

Grievances, Concerns, or Conflicts

I’ve been meaning to share this for quite some time but I kept forgetting. It’s very relevant to the topic of my sermon for tomorrow, living together as a community that loves one another. It was adapted by the PPRC, and I share it with their permission, in response the a request from the annual conference to formulate “guidelines for handling grievances, concerns or conflicts:”

With the exception of issues of physical, mental and sexual abuse or harassment, we will encourage those with grievances, concerns or conflicts to approach the party that  has offended them directly. If they fear approaching the offending party alone we will offer to accompany them. If they still fear approaching the offending party we will offer to relay the grievances, concerns or conflicts upon the condition that the name of the aggrieved party will also be shared. If this condition is refused then the grievance, concern or conflict shall be dropped.

The focus of the annual conference’s request was primarily for grievances, concerns or conflicts involving Jenny and I as pastors, but I think the principle holds for the entire congregation. If we all followed it, this guideline would do a great deal to foster love for one another in our life together as a congregation.

Concerning Your Church's Finances

Dear Members and Friends of First United Methodist Church,

We write this letter to update you on the current financial situation of your church and to ask you to prayerfully consider the possibility of increasing your giving. But, we want to begin by first thanking all of you for your contributions. You have made the many ministries of your church, such as the food pantry and Vacation Bible School possible and successful while also providing for the more mundane parts of our life together such as utility bills and salaries.

At the beginning of 2010, the church’s general operating fund stood at $7,152, but as of the end of March, it had dropped roughly $10,000 to -$3,265. As a church, we have been in worse spots before. At the end of 2004, the general operating fund was -$23,056. So we have been in much worse situations, but we do not want to go there again.

To this end, the Finance Committee has been considering ways to cut spending. One relatively large expenditure, the salary for our secretary, Linda Beever, is already scheduled for a reduction when Linda retires from full-time to part-time in January 2011. That month, we will also see our apportionments drop approximately 10% due to a change in the apportionment formula (our apportionments also fell by 10% between 2009 and 2010). Other reductions have already been approved, while still others are being considered.

None of the budget reductions currently being considered can be taken lightly. For that reason we’re asking you to prayerfully consider the possibility of increasing your giving when you pray for your church.

Grace and Peace,

Kathy Wood, Finance Committee Chair

Dave Larimore, Church Council Chair

John and Jenny Collins, Pastors

P.S. You may have noticed that improvements continue to be made to the church building despite the fact that the general fund has dropped. It is important for you to know that these improvements come from restricted funds such as bequests and memorials that are not available for ongoing expenses.