Reverend Kate opened the meeting describing how our journey of transformation towards God is never over, but that it is time to pause and celebrate how far we have come. At last year’s Annual Meeting we forecasted a $33,000 deficit in 2016 and a $45,000 deficit in 2017. We thought those deficits might be a sign from God that we needed to evolve, recognizing that staying the same was not an option. A generous bequest from Don Kendall gave us the opportunity to plug the budget gap and start the Answering God’s Call process. Rather than focusing on scarcity we focused on trying new things out of abundance.
We tried many new ideas, including Worship experiments, a new format for the Cookies & Carols event, inviting the Atrium Choir to participate in the Annual Lessons and Carol’s event, greater promotion of the Easter Egg Hunt, and Summer Fun. All the ideas and energy came from the parish. And these ideas were consistent with our vision, including
- To be welcoming to all
- To be a special place for children and youth
- To be a community that cares about those we serve and each other
Rev. Kate was proud to report that in 2016 we welcomed twice as many new members as in 2015. The predicted budget gap of $33,000 turned out to be only $7000. And the forecasted deficit in 2017 became a $1200 surplus. And we did it together, with leadership from our Vestry and Finance Committee.
Rev. Kate concluded that God is saying we are on the right track, showing how powerful it can be to stop worrying about what we don’t have and instead focusing on the gifts we do have to share. When we prioritize our mission to share God’s profound and unstoppable love for all people, we have all we need, and little more, to answer God’s call to us.
After a delicious brunch in the Great Hall, the parish voted on the candidates for election. The slate was elected, including:
- Executive Committee:
- Senior Warden: Ian Fox
- Junior Warden: Bill Vogele
- Treasurer: Sam Stevens
- Clerk: Sarah Conrad
- 3 Year Terms: Erica Brotschi and Bob King
- Youth 1 year Term: Jacqueline Stevens and Kate Williams
- Murry Daniels
- Susan Dresley
- Linda Kukolich
- Beth Murnaghan
Ian Fox presented on Redeemer’s financial situation. In 2016 revenues were above budget due to higher than expected pledges and weekly plate offerings. Additionally, investment income exceeded the budget. Expenses were below budget by 3%. As a result, the predicted $33,000 deficit became a $7000 deficit.
Ian noted that the church continues to fully fund the property fund, which is necessary as we look forward to major capital projects including parking lot and roof maintenance. Additionally, the Finance Team reduced health insurance costs while still ensuring that all employees receive the coverage that is necessary for them. Rev. Kate also emphasized that the Finance Committee worked closely with the employees to ensure that everyone received the best coverage for their needs.
Ian described that in 2017 the trend toward improved pledges is expected to continue, and the parish will benefit from the reduced insurance costs and a positive variance in snow removal.
- Achieve sustainable growth in membership
- Become more engaged in our community
- Better reflect the diversity of our surroundings
- Deepen our relationships and sense of God’s presence.
The Answering God’s Call initiative is working toward fulfilling this mission through 5 workstreams:
- Being a Resource for Healing, Wellness and Balance
- Providing Greater Balance on Sunday Morning
- Exploring how to “be Church” Beyond Sunday
- Empower and enable us to share with and invite others to Redeemer
- Sustain and strengthen our commitment to Mission
George shared some of the key accomplishments so far:
- Beyond Sunday
- Developed a plan to visit other suburban churches with weekday services
- Participated in Leadership Development Institute Training
- Empowering Us to Share and Invite
- New outdoor signage for the church in process
- Began postcard mailing to new homeowners in Lexington
- Greeters on Sunday welcoming new visitors
- Sustain and Strengthen Mission
- Offering a Mission Sunday on 2/12 to showcase Redeemer’s strong commitment to Mission and showcase new ideas
George reinforced that our energy and sense of welcome are infectious, and evident to all who visit our parish.
As we move forward, the Answering God’s Call process has identified many more ideas than we can tackle, so prioritization will be critical. George reinforced that the energy, enthusiasm and leadership of the whole parish are vital ingredients for success.
Following George’s presentation, the attendees broke into tables and worked on answering key questions:
- What is one thing that happened at Redeemer this past year that was meaningful to you
- What is one thing that you are looking forward to at Redeemer in 2017
The attendees also shared their feedback on our Fall Worship experiments.