This Sunday at 12:00 pm all members are welcome to participate in our UCUCC congregational budget meeting. Below please find the meeting agenda, motions, and other materials that support our business.
UCUCC CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
November 19, 2023
- Gathering Song
- Welcome – Ed Coleman, UCUCC Moderator
- Opening Prayer – Rev. Michael Ellick, Minister of Worship & Care
- Voting explanation & test of online voting – Ed
- Declaration of Quorum – Ed
- Recognition of the Church Health Task Force – Ed
- Business Agenda #1, Updated Bylaws motion
- Theological grounding – Pastor Michael
- Presentation of the Bylaws Update motion – Ed
- Discussion and voting
- Business Agenda #2, Lin House Sale motion
- Theological grounding – Rev. Steve Jerbi, Minister of Christian Formation and Love & Justice
- Celebration of University Congregational Housing Association (UCHA) – Gail Winberg
- Presentation of the Lin House Sale motion – Tim Croll
- Discussion and voting
- Lin House Blessing – Pastor Steve
- Business Agenta #3, 2024 Budget motion
- Theological grounding – Rev. Amy Roon, Minister of Vision and Stewardship
- Report from the “Love in Action” 2024 Giving Campaign – Cristin Miller
- Presentation of the 2024 Budget motion – Livio De La Cruz and Terry Moore, Budget Co-Chairs
- Discussion and voting
- Thank you and recognition of volunteers – Brother Stephan Gerhardt, Assistant Moderator
- Closing Prayer – Pastor Amy
BUSINESS AGENDA ITEM #1 – BYLAWS UPDATE MOTION
UCUCC Council recommends to the UCUCC congregation that the proposed update to the UCUCC Bylaws document be approved during the November 19th UCUCC Congregational meeting.
Notes to the bylaws motion:
The UCUCC Bylaws document describes the top-level governance structure and practices of the church. This document includes provisions for updates to the UCUCC bylaws via a 2/3rds approval vote of members present during a congregational meeting. The UCUCC Council’s role in this process is to make a recommendation to the congregation that a proposed bylaws update be approved. The last update to the UCUCC Bylaws was made in 2014 and can be found here. Much has changed in the organization of the church in the past 10 years. The proposed bylaws update intends to align our governing document with how UCUCC is currently operating. There is no intention that this update on its own lead to any changes to the current governance or operation of UCUCC.
Many devoted people have contributed to the proposed bylaws update before us. Credit is due to Liz Wells and Terry Moore for getting this process going a couple of years ago. Since that time many UCUCC members have been involved in revising and reviewing what has become the current proposed draft. Most recently your moderator took on the mostly clerical task of merging edits, standardizing formatting, and getting drafts out for final review. The important message with this proposed bylaws update is that it does not change anything about how we operate. The change is intended solely to bring our governing document into alignment with how UCUCC is currently organized and how we intend to be conducting the business part of what we do. A document of this sort should be an enabler to allow the focus to be our collective call to be church with and for each other. It is certainly not intended to get in the way of doing God’s will.
The proposed bylaws were circulated to the congregation on November 8. This document provides a red-line version showing the changes between the current bylaws and the bylaws proposal. After this version was created, the UCUCC Church Council endorsed three friendly amendments which are not included in the red-line version. Here is the final version of the proposed bylaws. The amendments endorsed by council can be found within that document and below:
1.) Committee name change from “Pledge Committee” to “Giving Committee”
This occurs in two places where the following are described:
– standing committees of Council
– Stewardship & Finance Committee’s collaboration with Giving Committee.
2.) Love and Justice Ministry description wording change in Article VIII, Section 5C: Descriptions Love and Justice Ministry
New wording proposed by L&J Ministry:
Details about the activities and current action teams of this Ministry can be found in the Love & Justice Handbook and includes support of justice action teams, direct service and advocacy organizations, and Covenant Partners, along with our connection to the Pacific Northwest Conference and national United Church of Christ. Current action teams include Sacred Earth Matters, Hunger Outreach, Christmas Families and Offering of Gifts, Encampment Hosting, Gun Violence Prevention, Hunger Outreach and Share the Harvest, Israel Palestine Justice, Immigrant Justice, Peace and Justice Advocates, Racial Justice activists, Superfluity, and Teen Feed. The ministry also includes affiliated 501C3s including Mwanzo and the Trettin Early Learning Center. Over time as we discern the call to love and justice, the number and types of action teams will change.
3.) Name change of the UCC Childcare Programs in Article XIII, Affiliated Corporations and the Love & Justice Ministry description Article VIII 5C
The UCC Childcare Programs, formerly known as the Child Learning and Care Center and Trettin Drop-in Preschool, have combined their programs and are officially doing business as Trettin Early Learning Center.
BUSINESS AGENDA ITEM #2 – LIN HOUSE SALE MOTION
UCUCC Council recommends to the UCUCC congregation that the property located at 7025 16th Ave NE (known as the Lin House) be sold with proceeds (estimated at $700,000 after sale expenses) used as follows:
- $200,000 for UCUCC Love & Justice Ministry
- $50,000 to retire UCUCC Council loan taken out to provide staff salary increases for second half of 2022
- The balance available for UCUCC Council to meet financial needs of the church
Notes to the Lin House motion:
The UCUCC Bylaws document stipulates that the sale of any real estate property owned by the church requires approval of a majority of the members present during a congregational meeting. The UCUCC Council’s role in this process is to make a recommendation to the congregation regarding such a sale.
The Lin House was gifted to UCUCC with no restrictions on how it should be used. For over twenty years the will of the UCUCC Council has been that its best use was as a source of housing. For the first years this asset was managed by the University Congregational Housing Association (UCHA). Currently the Sound Health organization manages use of this property that UCUCC makes available at no cost to Sound Health.
The UCUCC Asset Enhancement Task Force (AETF) has determined in consultation with Sound Health and the UCUCC Love & Justice Ministry that the best use of this asset would be to sell it and apply the proceeds from the sale as outlined above. Of note is that Sound Health is moving away from providing housing for its clients using individual homes. Sound Health will work with the current residents to find appropriate housing for them from spaces available within their other residential properties.
BUSINESS AGENDA ITEM #3 – 2024 BUDGET MOTION
To accept the 2024 budget of $1,566,980 in income and $1,741,973 in expenses, as endorsed by the Church Council, consisting of $1,240,000 in pledges and other expenses as outlined, including a 7% draw from the general endowment and up to a 10% draw from the Love & Justice permanent endowment.
Furthermore, Council unanimously recommends that the congregation vote to cover the deficit gap in the budget by a special draw of up to $175,000 from the general endowment (current value almost $2,000,000) because we feel that the mission and ministry funded by this budget are vital to the health of this church community and the financial support of our programs, staff, and services are essential.
To use the list below as guidance for additional cuts if the giving campaign falls short of the projection of $1,240,000 by as much as $10,000:
$1,000 Personnel Contingencies
$1,500 Music Interns
$500 Children’s Ministry Events
$250 Children’s Ministry Curriculum
$1,000 Tech Support
$500 Seabeck Children’s Program
$2,000 Utilities estimates
$2,500 Love & Justice Ministry
$500 CEC Special Events
To use the list below as guidance for areas to restore budget if the giving campaign exceeds the projection of $1,240,000 by as much as $10,000:$500 Youth Ministry
$500 Children’s Ministry
$600 Seabeck Children’s Program
$1,000 Music Interns
$550 Retreat Room/Board for pastor at Seabeck
$6,850 Love & Justice Ministry
Notes to the proposed budget:
Love in Action! We celebrate the generosity and support of UCUCC members and friends who have pledged, and contribute to this church in so many ways. 44% of you increased your pledge this year. To everyone who participated in our 2024 giving campaign: we thank you! We also honor the non-financial gifts that support the life and mission of this church. Your prayers and presence, time and talent are meaningful contributions. Thank you to all who share these gifts as well.
The budget committee offers these observations on the 2024 budget:
o Our personnel costs account for 72% of our expenses, with 24 staff members and 13.63 total FTE.
o In 2022, the Assets Enhancement Task Force (supported by the Personnel Committee) brought a wage justice proposal to Council: to increase the pay of our lowest wage workers by 20%-30% to move everyone towards a living wage. The 2024 budget contains a modest 3% cost of living increase for all staff.
o This budget includes pay for 2.5 pastors; a full year of Pastor Michael’s position (where the 2023 budget was for ¾ a year), and a reduction in Pastor Steve’s position to half time.
o We’ve also seen a significant cost increase in our staff health insurance: 18% higher in 2024.
Love & Justice and Outreach Ministry
o For a second year, the budget committee is requesting up to a 10% draw from the Love & Justice Endowments, to support their vital work. The operating budget support for L&J has been reduced significantly the past two years. With this proposal, the Love & Justice Ministry Committee’s work will be funded
o This budget area also includes Trettin Early Learning Program Scholarships at the same level as 2023 and support for Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) at the same level as 2023 (a reduction from 2022).
o Much of our justice work can’t be captured in a budget line item: reduced rent or donated space to justice and mission organizations using our building, and countless hours of volunteering and advocacy our congregation engages in.
Impact of Inflation
o Some of this year’s increased costs are caused by inflation: health insurance, property insurance, utilities, supplies, etc. Our building is a blessing and a resource to our ministry, and normal upkeep cost increases are part of what it means to be a church in Seattle with an aging building.
o One challenge of higher inflation is that pledges haven’t kept pace with inflation in past years, so our donations don’t go as far as they used to. With our commitment to wage justice for staff, the increased need for digital ministry, and inflationary pressures on the expense side of the ledger, we have a budget gap for a second year in a row.
Budget cuts and additional resources
o Initial ministry requests for 2024 came in with a deficit of nearly $300,000. Each ministry liaison took on the difficult task of proposing budget cuts or utilizing restricted funds to offset costs. Big thank you to the creativity, thoughtfulness, and collaboration shown by the 2024 budget committee.
o In addition to the increased L&J endowment draw, this proposal includes a 7% draw from the general endowment for operating budget support (endorsed by the UCUCC investment committee). We are blessed with $600,000 in designated funds and $6,000,000 in endowment funds (including the Swanson endowment). We offer deep gratitude to the cloud of witnesses who have remembered the church in their wills; their commitment and faithfulness continues to bless our church’s ministry with love in action.
A vision for the future
o A budget is a moral document, one that tells a story of who we are and who we want to become. This budget tells a complex story of a church that has undergone a historic period of rapid change. The Church Health Task Force survey shows us a congregation hopeful for more connection and engagement. We all love this church and want the best for our future. This budget gives us more time to settle into the ending arc of organizational change, to feel where God is calling us, and to use some of our resources to support us today instead of saving them for a future unknown. The need is here and now. Efforts are underway to address the bigger questions that cannot be answered by the 2024 operating budget. The Lin House vote is one piece of that remedy. The leadership of the Church Health Task Force, the Assets Enhancement Task Force (AETF), the Personnel Committee, and the Church Council, are all deeply engaged in creating a sustainable future for the church. AETF will be sharing more in early 2024 about some medium- and long-term plans.
This budget is a leap of faith. We will live into the promise of God’s plan for us, and transform our love into action as faithful stewards of these resources.
Below is a summary of the 2024 Budget. The full budget detail can be found here.
|2023 Budget||2024 Budget|
|Pledges, Offerings, & Contributions||$1,191,207||$1,240,000|
|Prior Year Pledges||$12,000||$12,000|
|Weddings and Memorials||$600||$600|
|Parking Lot Revenue||$40,000||$40,000|
|Total Facilities Use||$115,600||$115,600||$0|
|General Fund Interest||$18,915||$24,993|
|Special Endowment Draw||$175,000||$175,000|
|Total Other Revenues||$373,044||$374,373||$1,329|
|Expenses||2023 Budget||2024 Budget|
|Christian Formation Ministry|
|Total Christian Ed Ministry||$1,200||$1,500|
|Total Children’s Ministry Committee||$2,980||$3,250|
|Total Youth Committee||$1,148||$3,600|
|Total Christian Formation Ministry||$5,328||$8,350||$3,023|
|Outreach/Love and Justice Min|
|Total Love and Justice Committee||$15,000||$12,500|
|Total Trettin Early Learning Program Suppt||$26,000||$26,000|
|Total Outreach/Love and Justice Min||$122,400||$122,300||-$100|
|Calling & Engagement Ministry|
|Total Communications & PR||$3,200||$3,200|
|Total Parish Care Committee||$1,000||$1,000|
|Total Welcome Committee||$200||$0|
|Total Engagement Committee||$100||$100|
|Total Calling & Engagement Ministry||$9,920||$8,600||-$1,320|
|Worship and Music|
|Worship and Music Ministry||$8,526||$14,250||$5,724|
|Stewardship Administration Ministry|
|Stewardship & Finance Admin||$134,100||$132,210||-$1,890|
|Facilities and Equipment||$227,450||$275,680||$48,230|
|Subtotal Leadership Staff||$403,601||$348,470||-$55,131|
|Subtotal Program Staff||$239,231||$260,696||$21,465|
|Subtotal Administrative Staff||$527,077||$554,900||$27,823|
|Subtotal Non-Salary Items||$14,219||$16,517||$2,298|
|Total Stewardship Administration Ministry||$1,545,678||$1,588,473||$42,795|