It’s been a while since I wrote anything that wasn’t a sermon or a silly online test. That is mostly because things are so busy in both my personal and my professional life.
On the professional side, the church is in a time of growth and planning. I think I mentioned here some time ago that the congregation was facing a budget deficit due to lower than expected pledges. The deficit was somewhere between $6000 and $12,000–depending on how much we “discounted” the value of the pledges we received. There was even more anxiety because we at first thought we’d also come in “in the red” last year, but upon a thorough review of the finances, we found we’d ended last fiscal year with a very small surplus. (less than $500.)
Anyway, the Budget Committee and Board of Trustees have been working very hard to balance the budget and I’m happy to say will be presenting a balanced budget to the congregation next month. We’ll have to commit to a small amount of extra fundraising–trying to raise new and existing pledges by a total of $3000.(That way the income will be renewable, not just a one-time fix.) In church terms, that’s a very small amount. The extra good news is that the budget doesn’t include a couple of fundraisers that are already in the works, so we may end up with some extra income to set aside in a cash reserve to help us through the “dry” months.
So that’s one part of church life. A sadder, harder part of congregation’s life is that we are facing several deaths in our community. A real pillar of the church, our beloved Pete, died on October 12. We are grieving him and his absence is tangible, especially on Sunday mornings. His memorial service is this Saturday. Another congregant, KC, lost her 22 year old son this past Friday. The death of someone so young is especially hard. KC and her partner Leigh are well-loved and this senseless tragedy is painful for all of us. And today I learned that another member–one who had been inactive for quite a while–died last week. It’s a lot of grief for one congregation. We are reeling.
We are also in the midst of a strategic planning process that is becoming to come together in an exciting way. At our congregational meeting on November 20, we will vote on the initial goals of the plan. The committee will then begin to put together the details of a plan that will help us use our resources to the best of our ability in pursuit of our mission and goals.
Whew. That’s a lot going on. But at home, there is even more happening. About a month ago, we found a house that we could not pass up. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was our next home. We hope to close on it on my 40th birthday next week! And we are also well on the way to selling our current house. (No, that is not our car in the driveway!) The constant negotiations, inspections, open houses, etc…have been exhausting. It’s a LOT. And it keeps my brain busy. For the first time ever I missed two important appointments. I thought it was Monday, but it was actually Tuesday. Distracted, yes.
Add to that Halloween with two young teenagers, the regular tasks of ministry, and you have one amazingly tired minister. Still, all is well.
Oh, and one more thing–Bon Voyage!!!–to my mother who left today for her dream trip to Paris. I hope it is everything she hopes it will be.