By Clinton Bench


Just as with household finances, money is fluid, and income and expenses vary over time.  Emerson remains in a time of transition when our stewardship, enthusiasm, and attentive care mean more than ever.  As we move to the end of Fiscal Year 2017, our financial health remains good with a small surplus in our operating budget of between 5% and 10%.  Fundraising events have been more productive than expected, and our minister, staff, and Board have been careful to keep spending under budgeted amounts in many categories.

At the same time, however, pledges to our annual fund for Fiscal Year 2018 have not met our goal of $170,000, nor have they met the cumulative pledge totals for Fiscal Year 2017.  Happily, a brief analysis of comparative pledges between the two fiscal years suggests that we are falling short not because members are becoming less generous, but rather because a large portion of our cumulative pledges comes from a small number of the most senior members of our congregation.  This year, we continue to mourn the passing of a number of longtime devoted members of Emerson.   Among the things to celebrate about these and other senior members is their longstanding generosity to our annual fund.

As we prepare for our Annual Congregational Meeting on June 11, the impacts of a change in expected pledges is felt in our proposed budget.  While we will be able to maintain the level of programming for our congregation that we’re accustomed to, along with our same number of staff, it is unlikely that we will be able to offer salary increases to the minister or our staff.  Further, while we can continue to perform basic maintenance on our buildings and grounds, improvements – and even some major repairs – are needed to protect our capital assets and grow our rental income.  Of course, new programming is also difficult to initiate without a growth in income.

All members are encouraged to stay after the service on June 11 to discuss our financial plans for the coming year and to vote on a budget for Fiscal Year 2018.  As always, if you have questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact either Leslie Reuter at lreuter@sbcglobal.net or Clinton Bench at clinton@alum.mit.edu