Edmonds UMC News

Potential Staff Layoffs Compel Church Leaders to Ask Congregation to Reconsider Our 2018 Pledges

Key EUMC lay and staff budget stakeholders heard some grim news last Tuesday night — our 2018 pledge campaign has resulted in the potential need for staff layoffs. Called together by our church’s Finance Committee, nearly two dozen leaders met for over two hours and combed through the 2018 budget, looking for creative ways to balance income and expense while also maintaining our current level of staffing.

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Here are the key facts:

  • Pledging has increased for 2018 -- As of Thursday, we have received 246 pledges for a total of $822,293.22. That’s nearly $20,000 ahead of last year’s pledge drive and includes nearly 30 brand new pledges.
  • Last January a supplemental pledge drive raised an additional $27,152 toward the General Fund. Since it was a one-time ask, those funds are not available this year to help balance our 2018 budget. In addition, a long-term amortization of the 2017 parsonage renovation must now be paid for annually from the General Fund, while other fixed costs are also increasing.
  • We’re within $25,000 of balancing the budget — After counting income from all sources, we can anticipate revenues in 2018 of $1,009,365. However, total budget requests for 2018 were originally $1,109,816, for a starting deficit of about $100,000. At Tuesday night’s meeting, these requests were pared down to $1,034,728, leaving a deficit of about $25,000.
  • The $25,000 deficit could be made up by eliminating a cost-of-living increase for staff for the second year in a row — This possibility was on the table at the meeting on Tuesday night, but Bruce Cook, chair of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee (SPRC), indicated that his committee would reluctantly make the hard decision to reduce staff rather than require current staff to continue a second year without a cost-of-living increase.

The Tuesday night session reached consensus that cost-of-living increases are vital in order to retain our church’s excellent current staff. The group felt that the high rate of staff turnover recently should not be repeated, and that one key component of long-term staff retention is keeping our staff salaries at or above market rates for similar churches and non-profits. Weighing this priority, however, means that without enough room in the 2018 budget the potential result is a reduction in staff.

As this reality sunk in, the group recognized that staffing cuts could lead to program reductions in the area of either worship, education, music or adult programming. Rather than go down this road, agreement was made to alert the congregation and ask for our church’s households to reconsider their 2018 giving.

For the next two Sunday we will be offering our givers the opportunity to reconsider our giving, with the goal of maintaining our excellent church staff by offering a total of $25,000 in staff cost-of-living salary increases. This Sunday, Bruce Cook of SPRC will announce this special emphasis to the congregation in both worship services. Your prayerful support is greatly appreciated.

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