Parish Council Minutes

May 5, 2005

The meeting began at 7:08 P.M. Present were Hugh Penney, Bruce Gist, Barbara Langill, Dwight Decker, Debbie Cotting, Susan Lambe, Randy Russell, Chris Gehret, Dave Clough and Mike Dunfee. Our guest for the meeting was Bill Van Der Walden, a stewardship consultant.

Hugh offered a brief overview of our financial history and our recent problems with the budget deficit. Bill has done several campaigns in this area, and is an ordained UCC pastor. He served as a pastor until 1987, when he went to work at the national UCC offices where he was a Senior Staff specialist for large capital fund campaigns. During his time there he began receiving calls from other denominations for help, and in 1996 he left the UCC to become self-employed. Since then, he has completed capital campaigns for 350 churches. In the last 5 years, he has seen a shift from churches wanting help with capital campaigns to many wanting help with operating budget campaigns.

Bill explained that before he will begin a campaign, he does a comprehensive financial feasibility study of a church. This involves answering the questions: Is the money there?, and Will the members give it? His campaigns often involve 3 parts, a capital fund campaign, an operating budget campaign and a planned giving campaign. Bill has been quite successful with his campaigns and he feels he is a "Faith raiser" rather than a "Fund Raiser."

When Bill asked for feedback on CCC to help him understand where we are now, the following comments were made:

- our church is not as important to the community as it once was

- we are losing members to old age

- people don’t have as much time for church as in years past

- we are not good at talking about money, we lack a planned giving program

-we updated him on our pastoral transitions, our music transition, CE growth and last capital campaign

Bill’s reflections on our situation included the following observations:

- our average pledge is $1,411.00, which is only 1- 1 % of our estimated average income

- we don’t know all the numbers that well

- we need to incorporate a low key approach to planned giving

Bill then offered us insights into various programs including intentional giving and long-term giving. He recommended a 2 part approach that would result in a lasting change in people’s attitudes towards giving, and, hopefully also, a philosophical change in our church’s culture. He feels that the campaigns should be ‘no pressure,’ and that they should be for identifiable, tangible things. If we decide as a church to go forward with this, Bill will forward a proposal to us.

We adjourned the meeting with a prayer.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan Lambe, Recording Clerk