Thank You: From Sabbath to Q2 Money Matters
Dear Members & Friends of West Raleigh,
On behalf of the Rick-Miller village, thank you! We just returned from two weeks of Sabbath. We started in Montreat, North Carolina, where we shared a house with my sister and her family. All of the children enjoyed Clubs, while the adults read, worked and met up with lots of Presbyterian friends and colleagues. Then, we headed to the beach for a week of hot sand and rolling waves. We returned refreshed and renewed, at least until Ruth went back to school at 7:25am Monday morning! As we find our groove again this week, we are grateful for the time apart and glad to be home again.
Switching gears, but sticking with the theme of gratitude, I also want to thank you for your financial generosity in the first half of 2018. This week’s newsletter contains a financial summary for the first half of the year, prepared by Hank Taylor, West Raleigh’s Treasurer, for the Stewardship & Finance Committee. Scroll down to read the report, review the numbers and study the graph. It is, as Hank says in his first line, an excellent start to the year. As we repeat in the monthly Stewardship Matters message, the heartbeat of generosity lives at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church!
At the same time there are a couple of significant trends this year discussed at Tuesday’s Session meeting that we thought important to share with you. The first is the inverted giving pattern. As you can see in the graph that accompanies Hank’s report, there was a significant increase in “pre-paid” pledges – commitments to the 2018 Budget that were fulfilled in 2017. This had the effect of giving us a more generous cushion early in the year, but that cushion is steadily eroding and will likely turn into a deficit in the third quarter.
Second, after several years of building unrestricted reserves from a series of generous bequests, West Raleigh decided, through a series of congregational conversations, to invest much of that money in a large-scale restoration project that includes restoration of the stained glass windows, new signage, a new narthex door, columbarium and renovation of the courtyard. As those dream projects near completion, those funds are, by design and through careful stewardship, also being depleted.
I wanted to communicate this to the congregation mid-year to avoid surprises later in the year and give us an opportunity to respond - to take a mid-year inventory of our financial commitments to West Raleigh and consider an increase. That could come in a variety of forms. Perhaps it means making sure that your pledged commitment is where you intended it to be at this point in the year; perhaps it means making an incremental increase to that commitment; or, perhaps it means making a gift to the Courtyard Restoration Project that will help maintain more unrestricted funds for future dream projects. Whatever you decide, I hope it will be a conscious decision to invest in the work of this community.
With abundant gratitude, I will see you in church!