“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you.”
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be updating this blog to connect with our wider congregation about what’s been going on at Franklin Federated Church. Some folks saw an initial e-mail about our budget issues, and may not have attended any of our meetings. I’ll try to fill you in (from my perspective) and we can keep the conversation going when I see you again.
Do you want the good news or the bad news?
The good news is, God is good, Franklin Federated Church is well, and most of our folks are in good health.
The good news is, new folks are coming to Franklin Federated Church and adding their faith to ours.
The good news is, some changes are coming, to help us do what we do as a church more efficiently and to give us a better base of resources.
The good news is, many of your fellow congregants are stepping up to help with all these changes.
Over the last couple years, the treasurers of Franklin Federated Church have been watching a trend: our budgets are bigger than our resources. That is, we’ve been running deficits. Good, faithful people have been pledging, the money has been well used and not abused, but our ministry needs, including staff, missions and utilities, have outstripped our ability to pay for them.
For a couple of years, we got lucky, and cash was always on hand in one form or another to make up the shortfall…until last year. Then it hit, and we are now facing another year of shortfall. So the church council met, and did what anyone would do in such a situation: we panicked!
Well, some of us did. More good news about Franklin Federated Church is that even when things aren’t going perfectly, there are some seriously cool-under-pressure folks involved at many different levels, and together we managed to talk ourselves down and figure out a way forward. We wanted very much to inform the wider congregation about what was going on, so we sent out an email that was…a little incendiary. It basically said that one way to balance the budget would be cut all the staff salaries in half, and reduce the minister’s salary. If we hoped such a letter would inspire folks to give more, then we were disappointed, and that’s as it should be: fear doesn’t breed generosity, a wise person once told me.
But it sure got everyone’s attention! And folks responded, on e-mail, by the phone, and in visits with each other. We also had a record turn-out at the Annual Meeting on February 3rd, and that was great! The good news, though the meeting ran a little long (over three hours!) people were engaged, charitable and kind to one another.
And we found a way forward.
The good news? We know what we need to do, and we’re figuring out who’s doing it. The only bad news? You’ll have to read my next post to find out more! Thanks for reading, I’ll update this soon.
Pastor Charley Eastman