By Clinton Bench

On behalf of Leslie Reuter, Treasurer

We are already more than three-quarters of the way through Fiscal Year

2017! Happily, our overall financial standing remains generally consistent with what we projected in our budget. That said, pledge income from members is close to 10% lower than was originally pledged at the beginning of the year. For those of you who are careful to share your financial gifts with Emerson at an even pace over the course of the year, or even give much of your pledge early in the year, thank you! Pledge income is, by far, the largest portion of our income and our cash flow (used to pay salaries and other bills) depends on a regular pace of income each month. As we near the end of the year, you are welcome to touch base with Ken Erbeznik if you’re unsure about the current status of your pledge.


Speaking of income, as we near the June congregational meeting where we’ll approve our Fiscal Year 2018 budget, some might find it helpful to review “where our money comes from.” Of the approximately $256,000 in income we planned for in this year’s budget, 62% is from pledges and 21% is from the rental fees paid by Head Start. That’s 83% of our budget! Another 10% comes from fundraising events, like our silent auction in the fall, and the rest is made up of smaller items like occasional space rentals, our “scrip” program with Vons and Amazon, and Sunday collections. Perhaps of note is that Sunday collections comprise just a little more than 2% of our budgeted income.


As we welcome new members and visitors to our congregation, talking about money is not usually our top priority — nor should it be! However, it’s important to note that not everyone who makes up our community is familiar with how we pay for our programs, buildings, and staff resources. Unlike other nonprofit organizations that we may be members of individually, Emerson is not eligible for public grant funding, it doesn’t receive any money from a central national organization with a big endowment, and our hard-working staff is here, for the most part, to serve just us —the approximately 150 members and regular visitors to Emerson. Indeed, for such a small beloved community to share in our $256,000 annual budget each year, we rely on one another to consider our financial gifts a spiritual practice — nurtured by our hearts, our minds, and our fellowship. Blessed are these gifts.