*Re-cap from April 22 Quarterly Forum and Special Congregational MeetingApr 27, 2018
Over 60 members of BLC joined us for the special congregational meeting and quarterly forum held between services on April 22. Following an opening prayer, Council President Rick W. asked for a voice vote from the floor to elect the slate of three candidates presented to represent BLC at the Upstate New York Synod Assembly in June. The congregation unanimously approved Sherry C., Kathy M., and Art W. as voting members. We are grateful for their willingness to serve in such an important role. Following the vote, the special congregational meeting was adjourned.
Alan S. began the Quarterly Forum with a review of BLC’s financials through March 2018. BLC remains in a strong position financially, but we were reminded that council and the congregation approved a deficit budget of $30,000. This deficit is not sustainable long-term. It is important for BLC to demonstrate a positive shift in giving in order to continue building a successful team ministry model.
Council Vice President/Special Projects Andy G. presented information on electronic giving. As more members use computers, tablets, and smartphones to help organize their daily lives, many congregations offer online giving, credit card, or withdrawals from checking/savings, as a convenient giving option. Advantages of online giving include:
–>Automatic recurring donations reduces seasonal slumps in donations
–>Less time spent tallying donations and preparing deposits
–>Reduces handling of checks and cash in the church office
–>Environmentally friendly; less use of paper for envelopes and checks
–>Convenience – especially for visitors and special offerings
In order to improve the usability of eGiving and expand the available options, BLC is transitioning to a new eGiving solution, Tithe.ly. The finance committee reviewed 10 solutions before deciding on Tithe.ly. In parallel, the ELCA completed a review of eGiving options and identified Tithe.ly as a preferred solution. Initial roll-out of Tithe.ly will be limited to smartphones and the BLC website. A soft launch is currently underway with a full launch including tech support between services planned shortly. For current Simply Giving participants, tech support will be provided to transition to this new platform.
Katie Kreutter presented an update on team ministry. Several examples including the Fellowship auction to support the National Youth Gathering trip in June, planning for summer day camp in July, re-invigorating the Grow committee, exploring ways to broaden the LYFE committee, and BLC’s hosting of “The Life of Walter Welker” on April 27 and 28 to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association were shared as tangible ways we are continuing to live out our mission and vision. An intergenerational focus has been intentional in each of these areas.
Following Katie’s update, Pastor Amy shared that Katie is responsible for implementing the Safety Guidelines that were recently adopted by Council/BLC. She also pointed out our new pew cards that include a variety of ways for members, visitors, guests to connect with BLC.
With our team model firmly in place, it has provided the ability to think strategically about our long-term goals as a congregation. As such the staff team has already begun planning for 2018/2019 with a theme of “Generation to Generation” and working with committees on connecting this theme to ministry and programming. This clearly ties to the intergenerational focus in our team ministry model and affords us all an opportunity to understand how we and our ministries at BLC connect.