Stewardship & Finance
20 years ago, this church followed a dream and took a chance on a new location.
Some weren’t sure it could be done. But in the end, by coming together with gifts of creativity, money, hands-on work, and love, members built a beautiful sanctuary. People of all ages came to call it their spiritual home.
Now, 20 years later, the church is at a turning point once again.
We still believe that church is the best place to grow our UU values and make them live. But in this new era, when so many are looking to what divides them, we hear a call to move beyond the walls of our building and share our message of inclusion and love. Now is the time to take action in the larger community, leading boldly with our Unitarian Universalist values.
As UUs we believe that diversity is what makes us strong.
We believe that including many voices is the only path toward a resilient future.
We believe that the world needs communities like ours who model a shared commitment to the common good.
In fact, we know from our history that when people come together to build on their dreams, a rainbow of possibilities is the result.
Our dreams for this new era include:
- A vibrant community of worship and action, with a new settled minister as partner in outreach and growth.
- Opportunities for all – youth, children, young and older adults - to grow our UU identities throughout the life cycle and at all stages of our journey as Unitarian Universalists.
- Enhanced resilience as a Caring Community, where we pool our gifts of support, affirmation and acceptance through all of life’s transitions.
- A brighter welcome, through improvements to lighting and drainage in our busy parking lot.
- Vital partnerships with other faiths and charities, in support of refugees and others in need.
- Heightened visibility in the wider community, so that others may find the welcome that we have found in this church.
- A deeper commitment to our responsibility as treaty people, as we work to support understanding, healing and reconciliation in relationships across settler and indigenous communities.
Yes! I'd like to help support the work of this dynamic community in 2017-18. Here is my pledge of financial commitment.
What are we going to spend our money on?
Let’s look at the proposed church budget for 2017-2018.
On the revenue side the only significant change from last year is that to balance this years proposed budget the pledge donations have to increase by $59,000.
On the expenses side there are a number of increases:
- The mortgage increases by $4,890 to allow the installation of parking lot lighting and storm sewers this year as part of our long term plan to pave the parking lot.
- The projected increase in payroll expenses next year will be $39,270. This increase comes from 2 sources: the hiring of a new settled minister and the implementing of Lifespan Religious Exploration programming. The Ministerial Search Committee recommends we respect Canadian Unitarian Council Fair Compensation Guidelines, and be prepared to increase our budget line for ministerial compensation significantly. With Board approval we have budgeted for this. Lifespan RE programming will be implemented by hiring an RE Assistant rather than increasing the DRE’s hours, at a cost of $7436. As well it is proposed that the DRE compensation package increase to bring it in line with fair compensation standards. It should be noted that our DRE is recognized for her skills across North America.
- The administration line increases by $4,100. The most notable increase here is the $1735 required for software. There are also expected to be $500 increases in each of postage, banking and website maintenance expenses.
- The only other significant increase is in the program expenses. Here the increase is $6300 with the major items being: youth leadership ↑$1700, child care ↑$1800; and social justice, pastoral care and choir music each requesting $500 increases.
What is a pledge?
A pledge is like a promise: the total or monthly donations you intend to make to the operation of the church over the fiscal year ahead. A pledge is not a contract, but a statement of intention. We recruit pledges during the annual pledge campaign, which generally runs in February or March. Pledges allow us to forecast the amount of money we can plan for when setting our budget for the coming year.
A pledge can be made by any member of friend of the congregation who wishes to support the church in a way which provides a consistent basis for financial planning. Members have a special responsibility to pledge; according to the church By-Laws, a member is expected to “make a sincere effort to support the congregation financially, pledging regular contributions if possible.” However, many friends also support the church with an annual pledge. Our church is financially self-sustaining, and pledge donations represent most, though not all of the church’s annual income.
What if I don’t have much to contribute?
We appreciate all contributions, large and small, along with gifts of time and talent as well as money.
When does my pledge come into effect?
At the beginning of the church fiscal year. Our fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th. Of course, you can begin pledging at any time in the calendar year by contacting the church administrator, or by using the pledge form on our website.
How do I fulfill my pledge of financial commitment?
There are several ways to fulfill your pledge.
• Direct Deposit is the preferred method, as it allows for your monthly pledge to be transferred electronically, without your having to remember it every month.
• Post-dated cheques, sent to the church office prior to the start of the fiscal year.
• Monthly, quarterly or lump sum payments made by cash or cheque and placed in the offering plate at a Sunday Service. If you choose this option, please mark “pledge” on your cheque or envelope to ensure it is recorded correctly.
Will I get a tax receipt?
Yes, the church issues tax receipts for all identified donations at the end of the calendar, not the fiscal, year.
Can I get some background on the proposed 2017-18 budget increases?
Absolutely. Here is background information on some of the projects the church looks forward to implementing in 2017-18.
Why make adjustments to ministerial and staff compensation packages?
Over the past several years, the church has moved closer to following the salary guidelines detailed in the Canadian Unitarian Council’s policy on Church Staff Compensation. (If you decide to consult the guide, Winnipeg is located in Geo Index 3.)
We believe fair compensation is one of the important ways we live out our 3rd Unitarian Universalist principle: Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Further, experience has shown that compensating fairly contributes to the recruitment and retention of hard-working staff who advance congregational goals and Unitarian Universalism.
Until now, our minister has been compensated at the upper end of the minimum recommended salary scale for a congregation of our size (Mid-Sized I, in the guide.) Through their experience interviewing Candidates, our Ministerial Search Committee has learned that candidates who fit the profile you have requested – with a breadth of experience in many different leadership areas – will merit compensation at a higher range than this church has offered in past years.
Our Director of Religious Exploration (DRE), with nine years experience at this congregation, is presently compensated at the minimum level recommended for a congregation of our size in a similar location. During this time, the DRE has steadily worked at adding to her credentials, and has become highly respected by her peers throughout Canada and the U.S. In recognition of her experience and professional growth, the Board has proposed her compensation be increased to the mid range recommended for Canadian religious educators.
Why implement Lifespan Faith Development?
At present our Director of Religious Exploration (DRE) serves families, children and youth. Young adults bridging out of our youth group find themselves missing the support of their close youth group friends. Some move away and others begin new connections. The Board has set a priority of supporting ministry to young adults, and, to this end, are participating in a project with congregations across Canada to explore and improve our ways of welcoming and including young adults in congregational life. The DRE has been given an additional 60 hour contract during the current church year to support this project, but without sustained Lifespan Faith Development leadership, this focus will be difficult to maintain.
In addition to support for young adult involvement, the proposed Lifespan Faith Development program could assist with activities such as:
• Leadership development,
• Recruitment and training of volunteers,
• Unitarian Universalist initiatives in faith and social justice,
• Collaboration with committees and others in strategic planning and goal-setting,
• Enhancing opportunities for growing inter-generational relationships.
SO ... rather than increase the DRE’s job from 80% time to full-time, the Board is proposing to hire a part-time RE Assistant, allowing the DRE to take on Director of Lifespan Faith Development responsibilities, supporting UU faith development for all ages.
The Adult Programming Committee would continue to fulfill their current mandate, promoting adult learning with the goal of enhancing the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of members and friends of the congregation within their shared UU principles.
And what about the parking lot?
In 2014, the congregation approved adding 25 years to the amortization of the mortgage, and increasing the mortgage in stages up to $350.000. The goal was to implement capital improvements, beginning with repairing the front retaining wall and steps, and paving the parking lot. The result was a decrease in the cost of our mortgage payments (from $29,880 to $20,314) over the past two years, as we benefitted from the longer amortization but did not borrow the mortgage funds approved.
In 2015, the church’s revenue did not allow for borrowing the costs of the entire project, so in 2016 only the steps and retaining wall were completed. The Capital Project Implementation Team proposes that project be completed by first installing drainage and lighting (2017), and completing the paving (2018.) The existing engineering surveys will still be valid if the project is completed by the end of 2018.
The 2017/18 budget envisages an increase of $4.900 to the annual mortgage payment, allowing for installation of lighting and storm drainage this summer. This improvement will lead to enhanced safety and security for everyone using the building. It is expected that the parking lot will then be ready for paving next year. At the present rate of interest (3.5%) the projected annual mortgage payments, taking into account funding the entire parking lot project, would be $30,000 - $35,000 – slightly larger than the payments on the old mortgage before re-financing.
I still have more questions. Who can I ask?