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Annual Meeting Highlights: Why This Budget? New Leaders. 4 Rs.

We held our first ever virtual Annual Meeting of the Congregation on January 31, 2021 with great success. More than 200 Grace members found their way to our online fellowship hall, created on Zoom to hear stories, share hope, and to do the business of this church family. For those who were able to make it, thank you! Your participation and energy gave us all hope. If you weren’t able to make it, and would like to watch it back, use the button below. *While open, this recording is not designed to be shared with the general public, but for those who call Grace their church home and family.

Folks joined by video and phone, and we were able to use the tools of technology to vote for the important business of our community. Below are some of the highlights and major information shared at the meeting.

Our Four 4s

It was a deep blessing to see so many familiar faces, and we’re all looking forward to gathering in person as soon as it is safe. We’re centering our vision for 2021 in the context of 4 Rs.

  • Re-gathering. Coming together in ways that are safe, and also make sense for a new day. 
  • Relationship. People are hungry for this more than anything. 
  • Re-imagining. How do we faithfully adapt to a new reality and follow Jesus into the future? 
  • Racial justice. We follow this spark of Holy Spirit energy and see where it takes us. 

New Leaders for 2021

We also elected a new slate of leaders who will forge our path through this next season of ministry and mission at Grace. We’re grateful to our Nominating Committee, who worked diligently to connect these leaders to the opportunities that sit and the confluence of their skills and passions and the needs of Grace and our surrounding community in a time like this. Here are our newly elected and/or continuing leaders.

Executive Committee
Justin Baesler (2)
Marie Christianson (1)
Doug Droske (1)
Kyle Hoversten (2)
Sally Schumack (1)
Cody Tresselt-Warren (1)

Adult Ministries
Ginny Bendickson (1)
Linda Burman (1)
Judy Dehnel (CR) (2)
Shannon Hoversten (1)
Brian Loe (2)
Lynda Thompson (1)

Children, Youth & Families
Sue Boxrud ( 1)
Allison Guggisberg (1)
Stephanie Gunderson (1)
Christel Ingles (1)
Heather Olivier (1)
Brad Stone (CR) (1)

Outreach
Jayne Carrington (2)
Katie Christianson (CR) (2)
Geoff Grochocinski (1)
Patty Kerlin (2)
Candy Leuthe (1)
Carla Screeden (1)

Property
Dave Bendickson (CR) (1)
Ryan Buboltz (1)
Kris Hodgson (1)
John Kerlin (1)
Brian Prawalsky (1)
Kurt Schumann (3)

Stewardship
Allan Bosch (CR) (2)
Mark Brandel! (2)
Scott DeGraff (1)
Peter Ott ( 1)
Tom Thorstenson (1)
OPEN

Worship
Joel Akason (1)
Dianna Austin (2)
Stesha Dunker (1)
Lynn Jesh (CR) (1)
Mark Jesh (2)
Paul Kuehne (2)

Endowment Fund Committee
Karen Anderson (1)
Don Blumenstein (1)
Jason Christianson (2)
Yvonne Dovick (1)
Linda Lichty (1)
Mark Sandbo (2)

Nominating Committee
Jim Christianson (1)
Dick Dehnel (2)
Dani Martin (1)
Lisa Wolf (1)
OPEN
OPEN

Audit Committee
(Years remaining of 3 year term)
Ryan Fieser (3)
Judy Miller (1)
Milissia Olberding (1)

Memorial Fund Committee
(Years remaining of 4 year term)
Dianna Austin (2)
Linda Hofstadter (2)
Lee Nelson (2)
Jim Turgeon (2)

Personnel Committee
Jane Allen (1)
Marlys Brandel! (1)
Will Morgan (1)
Joy Pearson (1)

Risk Management Committee
(3 year term)
Jon Jarocki (1)
Scott Lichty (1)
Diane Lind (1)
John Miller (1)
Corey Willert (1)
Jared Wolt (1)

Reconciling In Christ Committee
Kara Godwin (1)
Deb Hansmeier (1)
Martha Hiltner (1)
Melissa Loe (1)
Janet Nelson (1)
Lynda Ott (1)

About the 2021 Budget

Our 1.2 million dollar budget was created for a congregation in mission during the pandemic era, and our council has confidence in the ministry plan that this budget supports. We’re excited about the possibilities for the year ahead, as we make plans to re-gather.

First, the 2021 budget is a unified budget. This unified budget combines building costs with all other ministry expenses. It’s all ministry; and it will be much easier for people to understand. When we asked for pledges this year, we asked for people to “do math,” and combine plans for supporting both the mortgage and other day-to-day ministry into a single pledge.

We conservatively projected income from three sources:

  • Pledged offerings from 224 households that currently total $877,000. We celebrate that even in a very challenging year, more households made a financial commitment, representing a 10 percent increase in commitments compared to last year. The total pledged amount is $147,000 more than last year’s pledged amount.
  • Historical data on households that do not pledge, but are faithful in their financial support. We conservatively estimate that number to be $170,000 for 2021. Last year’s budget assumed unpledged offerings of $300,000.
  • Funds already given and on hand that are dedicated to the mortgage. We plan to use up to $200,000 of the nearly $400,000 already reserved for that purpose. We could have used more of the existing building fund; however, again, we wanted to be conservative. We want to be faithful stewards of our resources so that we can provide for our congregation and community long-term.

It’s also important for you to know that because of lower expenses in 2020, continued faithful giving, and a PPP loan received and forgiven, we are in a favorable cash position, with approximately $150,000 cash on hand that can be used for ministry, and help provide two months of operating expenses on reserve, which is recommended practice for congregations.

We can also note that in 2020, we did not need to use Grace’s line of credit.

The cash fund and no use of the line of credit is really amazing.  I cannot recall the last time we were here.  Let’s celebrate!  More giving commitments, lower interest expense, and cash on hand!

What’s different this year that we are not in a position to start the call process for a full-time associate pastor? We’ve always had two full-time pastors.

This budget allows for us to increase Interim Pastor Jen Collins’ hours from 20 to 30 hours per week. She is such a blessing to our congregation!

Our council and senior pastor are committed to creating a balanced budget, using realistic projections for the year. At this time, we’re pushing the pause button (not stop button) on starting a call process because as we look to 2022 and beyond, there are some unknowns; and it wouldn’t be fair to make a long-term commitment to a pastor until those unknowns become known. Those unknowns include 1) how long the pandemic will impact ministry; and 2) whether we will be able to undertake a debt reduction campaign in the near future. The council will re-visit this question every three months.

Even if we’re pushing the pause button on a call process, that doesn’t mean we’re pushing pause on important and exciting ministry. God has important things for us together!

These things and more made our first virtual Annual Meeting of the Congregation a blessing to all who attended. We’ve got a bright future ahead, and we’re proud of this community of faith.

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