SCF’s Financial Health and Some Reasons to Remain Hopeful!
By: Joe Amos, Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair
I am reminded of the key question posed as we struggled in mid-2021 to discern God’s will and the means to retain SCF’s uniqueness and continue SCF’s Core Mission: “Shall We Fly or Remain on the Branch?” The difficult decision to be bold, I’d say not naïvely, relied on the Capital Campaign Theme of “Leaning Out on the Godward Side!” Needless-to-say, our optimism to take on the challenges continues to be showered with more blessings, enabling us to meet the critical needs.
As your Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, I am delighted to report that SCF’s overall financial “health” is GOOD during the many challenges of the last 2 years. Let me begin by offering a huge “thanks” to the SCF Family and Friends for the immense generosity of Time, Talent, and Treasure during the challenging period as we sojourned and finally settled in our new Church Home.
I would like to share just a few facts and statistics, not just budget numbers, hopefully to highlight some reasons to be thankful, even in our transition. Overall, we have seen increased income in Pledges and Miscellaneous Giving from about the same number of SCF Family Units. Total Income through August is ~ $10,000 over the budget projection while Total Expenses was down by $17,000.00 compared to budget for the same period. This trend is in the direction of goodness regarding the projected budget shortfall for 2023. Let’s keep up the Good Works and pray for more blessings!
Total Contributions for Operations (Programs & Missions) remain high while Total Expenses have been slightly lower than projected, including the operational costs of the new Church Home.
Maintaining the Outreach Ministry Programs and Support Levels were a Priority in the 2022 and 2023 Budgets – a faithful adherence to the congregational desire as we purchased the new Church Home.
The Operating Account Fund Surplus over the past few years provided the needed cushion and was used to cover the projected budget shortfall while in transition in 2022 and 2023. However, it is not endless!
We have an active Transition/Call Committee in pursuit of a Senior Pastor for the life ahead. Working towards a competitive Compensation Package for successful recruitment of a Senior Pastor.
Another great testament is your generous support and continuing success of the multi-year Capital Campaign Drive, Andi’s Kitchen, Stained Glass, etc. to enable the accompanying Projects.
We are blessed with a Reserve Fund Account Balance of about $114,000.00, not including the potential for a full Capital Campaign Loan Repayment of $176,000.00.
The 2024 Budget will be a significant challenge without increased income above the current levels.
Yes, we do have a long-term sizable mortgage on the new facility through ELCA Mission Investment Fund. The current balance is about $870,000.00 at a current interest rate of 3.875%. Paying down some of the debt is one of the ways to reduce interest expense and future balanced budget anxieties.
Active pursuit of Outreach and Membership Growth under the theme of “ALL ARE WELCOME”, coupled with increased generosity, is our hope as we move to the next phase of our transition.
Some income from the facility usage by non-SCF groups will help to defray some of the operational expenses of our facility. An example is the Parking Lot Income & Expense Sharing Agreement.
Please, be assured that the Finance Committee will continue to work with the Management Board and the various Ministry and Program Leaders on being good stewards of your financial support.
My personal reflection, outside of my allotted role, is simply to be thankful for the unabated blessings being bestowed on SCF and choosing to remain hopeful. I suspect that each of you can each come up with some other reasons or examples that go beyond my narrow viewpoint.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or just curious about other details of our financial matters not addressed here. Our financial books are always open to all, with the appropriate confidentiality safeguards.
In closing, I dare to again ask:
“WHY SHOULDN’T WE BE THANKFUL & OPTIMISTIC?”