Gloria Dei Church Council President
Animal lover and selfie-taker
At the February Council meeting, we reviewed the Treasurer’s Report. Giving is off to a good start at this early point in the year.
We approved participation in the Saint Paul Area Synod’s “Planting Hope” campaign. Gloria Dei’s goal is to contribute $50,000. We will begin our fundraising on Easter Sunday, April 17, and continue through June 5. Watch for more information soon about the synod’s campaign and how you can support it. Scott Karli, council vice president, is the contact at Gloria Dei.
The council and staff are completing the assessments for the Intercultural Development Inventory.
Pastor Javen introduced the newest Gloria Dei members (by PowerPoint), and we heard committee updates.
As we shared in our recap of the Feb. 13 annual meeting, it was noted after that meeting that the amount used for the published Capital Budget for abatement and carpet in Fellowship Hall was $50,000 rather than $70,000. The church council has the authority to approve expenses less than $25,000 so during this February council meeting, we reviewed and approved this updated amount. The council will discuss this at the May congregational meeting.
Thank you all for your ongoing support.
At the January Council meeting, we discussed preparation and planning for the upcoming Congregational Annual Meeting scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 13. We also approved the 2022 housing allowance for the pastors.
We discussed the agenda for that meeting. As usual, at the meeting we will review the 2021 accomplishments and results, and we will review and vote on the proposed 2022 budget.
The Council has approved a stretch goal for giving (income) for the 2022 operating budget. We ended 2021 on-budget, break even, and we have seen a trend of flattened giving while expenses continue to creep upward. We will speak more about that at the Feb. 13 meeting and share our considerations as we developed that goal.
In addition, each year we typically hold a Sunday Forum the week before the annual meeting to review the proposed budget. This year, the Council is considering an evening Zoom meeting instead. The meeting would still allow for deeper discussion about the proposed budget as the Sunday Forums have in the past. Watch for more on that soon.
Other Gloria Dei work continues that you read and hear about in eNews and other emails, or on Sunday mornings. Both the “Rise, O Church” and Room 99 projects are moving forward. Ministry programs continue, and continue to adjust as necessary depending on the COVID-19 rates.
The Council, staff and I are grateful for Gloria Dei’s vibrant congregation. Our ministries continue because of the support and involvement of so many.
At the December Council meeting, we conducted the typical business of reviewing the treasurer’s report, the stewardship campaign update and the Rise, O Church update. All are progressing as expected. Other discussion at the meeting included:
COVID and Christmas Worship Services. Because the COVID Safety Task Force disbanded a few months ago when COVID seemed to be retreating, staff was interested in the Council’s input given the current spike in numbers. In particular, staff was considering safety for the Christmas in-person worship services. The Council agreed that the pastors and staff are best equipped to make any necessary changes, even at the last minute. Ongoing, it is better to equip pastor and staff to make adjustments when needed.
Becoming an anti-racist church. The council agreed to move forward with this work. The process, with Peter Harrits who is a member of the synod staff and trained in administering the Intercultural Development Inventory, is underway with the council.
New Members. Pastor Javen shared information about the November new member group, which included 13 new households. The Council welcomes them all to Gloria Dei.
The Council and I wish you a new year with health, happiness and blessings. Thank you for your ongoing support of Gloria Dei.
At our November meeting, the Council got a preliminary update on the stewardship campaign, our usual treasury update, and an update on the Rise, O Church project, which is progressing as expected. We also met Sam Graber, a member of Temple Israel and long-time advocate for immigrant justice, who will highlight our Room 99 project in an upcoming episode of the American Refugee podcast that he produces. Sam has been impressed with the Lutheran church’s role in aiding asylum seekers. He will follow our project to portray what it means for a congregation to undertake this work, start to finish. Sam has a national audience and hopes the episode will encourage others around the country to consider this work themselves. Our discussion also included the following items.
Racial Justice Committee request. The Racial Justice Committee proposed that in 2022 we consider allocating 10% of the capital budget pledges to support the Native American community. The capital budget was chosen because it represents funds designated for the building, which sits on Native land. The committee, or possibly another group, would seek opportunities to provide financial and other support.
Room 99 Resolution. Lenore Franzen and Claire Hoyum presented a resolution that would allow for rapid decisions while respecting applicant confidentiality when we are ready to receive applications for Room 99. It authorizes a small committee and the Executive Committee to review applications and make decisions. It is anticipated that the room will be completed by the end of the first quarter 2022, and that we will have guests soon after completion.
Now is the Time to catch up. We continue to see a decline in giving and are now slightly below budget. Our expenses have picked up as we’ve increased our ministries. If you might be behind in your giving, Now is the Time to catch up. Please consider the pledge you made for 2021 and work to close any gap as you are able. It’s also a good time to submit your pledge for 2022 giving if you haven’t yet. If you have questions about your pledges or giving, please contact Director of Finance and Administration Beverly Sargent.
On behalf of the Council and staff, we thank you and wish you a blessed Advent and Christmas.
Compared to 2020, the Council’s work in 2021 feels light. While we are still busy conducting the business of the church, much of what’s happening now at Gloria Dei, the Council and congregation put into motion over the past year.
At our October meeting, our discussion included the following items.
Urgent boiler repair expense of $20,000. While unbudgeted, we had funds available in our capital fund and the expense amount was within the Council’s approval authority. We approved the repair and expense, which had shut down our boiler after the annual inspection. In Minnesota, we know winter will come and we will want heat in the building. We used our usual vendor that we trust and have used in the past. We do review their contract annually to assure we have the best contract and value. *Rest assured our trusty boiler still has roughly 20 good years of life ahead; however, the Facilities Committee will begin looking at options for eventual replacement.
$4,500 expenditure to hire an external accounting firm. The firm will conduct our annual audit. We previously earmarked the funds for that purpose, and we were unable to find volunteers to help. As our congregation grows, the auditing job has also grown and is a large commitment for volunteers. The total cost is $5,000, and the Council will include this in the annual budgets beginning in 2022.
$3,200 expenditure for technology assistance for worship. A fund dedicated for human resources support was made available if we need technology consultation for online worship. They will help our staff and volunteers with technology set up and more, and they will provide coaching to further our team’s expertise.
$10,000 gift to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. The Council approved the Gifts, Grants and Memorials Committee’s recommendation to give $10,000 toward seed money to Beacon. It is for a planned project to develop permanent affordable and supportive housing for families in Ramsey County. Read this blog from the Beacon Team, co-chaired by Karen Lansing and Don Fulton, with more details about this important initiative.
Becoming an anti-racist church. Pastor Bradley is researching consultants, programs and plans to help Gloria Dei become an anti-racist church. The first phase would involve the Council members and staff.
Now is the Time to catch up. In recent months, we have noticed a decline in giving. We are on budget and our overall finances are in good shape. If you might be behind in your giving, Now is the Time to catch up. You should have recently received your latest giving statement. Consider the pledge you made for 2021 and work to close any gap as you are able. If you didn’t receive your statement or need it resent, please contact Director of Finance and Administration Beverly Sargent.
On behalf of the Council and staff, we appreciate your support, especially during this past year and a half. Gloria Dei’s strong ministries have continued thanks to all of you.