Action Committee, February 17, 2016

 First United Methodist Church of Santa Rosa

Next Step Action Committee Meeting Notes

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 – 5:00 p.m.

Montgomery Campus          

Members/Attendees: Thomas Barnett, Trustees; Chris Bowen, Finance; Mary Brunet, Business Administrator;

Norm Bryan, Chair of SPRC; Tokasa Buinimasi, Fijian Language Ministry; Blake Busick, Pastor; Norm Hardin, Trustees; Lindsey Kerr, Pastor; Trey McAlister, Action Committee Chair; April Nichols, SPRC; Naomi Niimi, SPRC; Paul O’Rear, At-Large; Greg Roth, Chair of Finance; Bill Stephens, Lay Leader; and, Heather Young, Finance.

Trey welcomed everyone and Pastor Lindsey opened the meeting with a prayer.


Financial Update

Mary provided the group with a financial update.  She indicated that the budget gap for the operating budget now stands at $91,454 down from approximately $108,000 reported two weeks ago.  Further, by using $17,000 of existing funds in the Bank of the West mortgage account the mortgage gap is closed for 2016.  She clarified that the $17,000 draw down will leave sufficient funds in the account to maintain the six-month mortgage payment reserve and monies for real estate taxes She told the group that people are responding to the communications about the budget deficit with additional giving.


Fijian Language Ministry

Tokasa reported to the group that the Fijian Language Ministry will increase its annual giving to the Church in 2016 to $48,000 from $36,000.


Finance Committee Recommendations

Greg reported that the Finance Committee has two recommendations to the Action Committee:

  • That a Stewardship Campaign Committee Be Established
  • That the Church take a three-pronged approach to the budget deficit that includes:
  1. Increasing Income
  2. Asset Sale – Gathering information and having a conversation
  3. Reducing Expenses

Greg indicated that he and Mary plan to work on a cash flow forecast.  He stated while the Church does have budget information on a monthly basis it does not include detail when actual income and expenses occur throughout the year.

Heather indicated that we currently do not have a sub-group working on reducing expenses.


Overview of FUMC Real Estate

Heather provided the group with a detailed report of the “Overview of Current First United Methodist Church, Santa Rosa Real Estate”.  Highlights of the report include property description and map of:

  • 1551 Montgomery Drive – 2 parcels totaling approximately 1.15 acres (Sanctuary, Church Buildings, Parking and the Susanna Wesley House).
  • 2150 Giffen Avenue – 1 parcel of 7.58 acres

She outlined four suggested options along with points to consider as we move forward that include:

  • Make No Change
  • Sell Montgomery Properties
  • Sell Entire Stony Point Property
  • Sell Partial Stony Point Property

She indicated that two weeks is not sufficient time to evaluate the value of the properties.  A next step to consider would be to hire an appraiser.  Paul estimated the cost of an appraisal to be about $10,000 to $12,000 per property.  Heather indicated that an appraised value is not necessarily the “value” or price that would be paid by a buyer.  Paul indicated that the appraised value of the property for the loan assumed a “for sale” value over a one to two year period, the properties would only sold as Church properties, and the appraisal was used specifically to support the Church’s application for the loan.

Heather pointed out that prepaying the mortgage loan presents some difficulty.  Paul commented that to sell a long-term asset for a short-term budget gap may not be a good approach, and that this conversation has appeared in cycles.

Pastor Lindsey offered that while those conversations have taken place in the past, we have a different congregation presently than in 2014 and there are those who have not participated in such conversations.

Greg stated that any of the options we have before us come with ugly and painful consequences.  The Church’s main costs include staff, apportionments and real estate and reductions will not be an easy or good choices.

Heather offered that we need to look at these options through the lens of our mission. She stated that if the Susanna Wesley House were to be sold it would have to be returned to a home.  Unofficially the sale of two acres at Stony Point is not feasible because of road access and we would likely need to sell five acres.  A zoning change could improve the value of the property.

Naomi stated that while we do have a long-range plan and selling property is a last resort, we do not want to leave a 1 million dollar debt for future congregants.


Inspirational Giving – Collecting and Sharing Stories of Giving

Thomas provided the group with a hand-out outlining a plan for FUMC Stewardship/Giving Vignettes.  The plan included draft questions, suggested guidance on capturing participation, and suggested guidance on sharing and distributing the content to the congregation.  Teddy O’Malley and Bob Cheal have volunteered to be interviewed. Pastors Blake and Lindsey will provide Thomas with a suggested list of people to interview.  It was suggested that a broad spectrum of congregants be interviewed.


Past Givers Who Did Not Pledge in 2016

Norm Bryan provided the group with a report on the giving units that pledged in 2015 but did not pledge in 2016.  He indicated that folks fell into four groups:

Group 1: Have not given in 2016 – 14 giving units

Action Step:  Personal follow-up and letters.


Group 2: Continue to give at the 2015 Level but did not pledge – 15 giving units

No action but monitor for a change in giving.


Group 3: Stopped Giving during 2015 – 4 giving units

Action Step: Make personal contact.


Group 4: Have moved pledge to mortgage from operating – 2 giving units

No action. 

Norm indicated that he plans next to evaluate those who reduced their 2016 giving and will report that at the next meeting on March 2nd.


Phases of Discipleship - A Life of Extravagant Generosity

Active Members and Constituents Who Do Not Pledge

Mary reported on the plan to encourage about 98 members/constituents who are active in the life of the Church to deepen their faith and make a commitment to pledge.  The overall goal is to:

  • Increase pledges in 2016 by 30% to 230 giving units from the current 176 giving units.
  • Increase pledges in 2017 by 30% to 300 giving units from 230 giving units.

The target groups include:

Those who could give “regularly and generously” – 23 identified.

Those who give to special offerings only – 12 identified.

Those who give when they attend worship – 28 identified.

Those who attend but do not give – 34 identified.


The plan includes the goal of obtaining a pledge using various forms of communication including letters, inspirational videos and a personalized message.  Using the Phases of Discipleship, people will be encouraged to make movement on their spiritual development using the continuum of exploring, beginning, deepening and centering.

Chris indicated that it would be important to find out why those folks have not pledged.  The group offered that it would be important to ask why they have not pledged and to take a personal approach in the communications with them.

April expressed that it is important to get the information out to the congregation in advance of the planned communications.  Perhaps we could use the Easter season to encourage giving.

Greg asked the group about forming a stewardship committee to handle the stewardship campaign.  It was felt by the group that this is a good idea.

Pastor Lindsey suggested that the Stories Team group consider the model used by the Reconciling Ministries group as they brought forward information to the congregation.  The group prayed, studied and looked at their own spiritual growth.  The work we do is about deepening our own spiritual life. Stewardship includes Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service and Witness.


Next Steps:

Trey indicated that the next Church Council meeting will be on Saturday, March 12th, and we will need to have recommendations/advise them by that date.

Thomas indicated the stories group will start work as soon as possible and some of their work up and available in two weeks.

Norm indicated he will be done with his work in two weeks and will report out at the next meeting on March 2nd.

Paul offered to prepare a calendar and action steps.

Heather will continue to gather information on FUMC real estate and options presented in her report.

Greg and Mary will work on a cash flow analysis. 

Pastor Blake reminded everyone to be asking “What can I do?”


Pastor Blake closed the meeting in prayer.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – 5:00 p.m. Montgomery Campus

Notes taken by: Pamala Stephens

C: Committee Members

     Dick Reichert, Chair, Church Council        

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Wed, 02/17/2016 - 17:00