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2012 Annual Gathering Report of the Executive Associate Conference Minister

by Keith Clark, Executive Associate Conference Minister

Conference Finances:

During the 2012 Annual Gathering, you will be presented with the financial report for Fiscal Year 2011, receive an update on budget adjustments for 2012, and be asked to adopt a budget for 2013.  You can review the 2011 financial reports here.

The Conference operates on an Annual Fiscal Year (January – December).  During the Annual Gathering, the Conference Board of Directors presents a proposed budget for delegates to approve for the next fiscal year.  The budget that is presented at Annual Gathering is based on the most current information available (the prior year performance and the first four months of the current year).  In January, the Conference Board of Directors reviews the budget to determine if adjustments are needed based on data at the end of the current fiscal year.
Understanding the Conference Financials:

The Conference budget is made up of two major sections; “Basic Conference Operations” and “Other Program Funds.”  The Basic Conference Operations portion of the budget derives revenue from three primary sources:

  1. Our Church’s Wider Mission Offering taken by local congregations (40% of this offering is sent on to the National Setting to support the ministries of the wider church)
  2. Per Capita Dues (currently $12.00 per church member)
  3. Individual “Friends of the Conference” gifts made to the Conference.

These three sources of revenue are intended to support the basic operations of a Conference.  It is with this revenue that the Conference can provide support and training for local church pastors and lay leadership, help churches call new pastors, provide mediation in church conflicts, provide leadership for our youth & young adult ministries, be a resource center for information, as well as, help foster connections within the Conference and within the communities of Southern California and Nevada; helping us to be united and uniting with others in our community.

The other portion of our budget is the “Other Program Funds.”  This portion of our budget has derived the majority of revenue from the one time sale of properties the Conference has received in past years.  Because property sales do not occur every year and we do not budget for them, our “Other Program Funds” budget will always reflect a net loss.

We utilize the “Other Program Funds” to supplement our Basic Conference budget in providing youth ministry, young adult ministry, support our partnership with Justice & Witness Ministries to fund the Romero Center, support outdoor ministries, provide for additional staff support to focus on church relations and stewardship, and provide church vitality.

As you review the 2011 Financial reports, here are some explanations from our balance sheet (a.k.a. Statement of Financial Position):

Current Assets: ($1,021,705): Includes our checking account, cash invested in The Cornerstone Fund, Prepaid expenses (insurance, employee benefits, etc).

Accounts Receivable: ($ 10,815): Includes short term receivables that were collected in early 2012.

Fixed Assets: ($2,139,422): Includes properties owned and in use by the Conference, furniture, and equipment, less accumulated depreciation.

Long Term Assets: ($3,458,655): Includes our investments in United Church Funds, Equity Sharing Agreements, Real Estate Held for Sale and long term notes receivable.

Current Liabilities: ($146,534) These are current liabilities and include such items as the amount of 2011 OCWM, Special Offerings & National Directed Gifts that were collected during December and the first week of January (designated for 2011) that were not sent to the National Setting until after our books closed in early January, various donations from our local churches to be sent to other ministries such as Pilgrim Place, Pilgrim Pines and Pacific School of Religion.  These funds were sent on in January after our books were closed.

Long Term Liabilities: We have no long term liabilities

As you review the 2011 Financial reports, here are some explanations from our Revenue & Expense Statement (a.k.a. Statement of Activities or Income Statement):

Basic Conference Operations

Our Church’s Wider Mission fell short of budget by $87,396.  Approximately 2/3rds of our churches support Our Church’s Wider Mission.  You can review giving from each church in 2011 here.

Per Capita fell short of budget by $30,101.  Approximately 2/3rds of our churches pay Per Capita.  You can review giving by each church in 2011 here.

Due To National is the amount of OCWM (40%), Special Offerings and National Directed Gifts that we sent to the National Setting to support the wider church.

Basic Conference Operations Expenses were $34,250 under budget in 2011.  In addition to careful management of expenses, we did not utilize some of the budget for human resources we had originally planned for the year.

Basic Conference Net Loss was significantly higher than anticipated due to the decrease in contributions to Our Church’s Wider Mission and Per Capita during 2011.

Other Program Funds

Total Income was significantly above budget primarily due to gains in our investments (we do not budget for investment gains or losses).

Total Expenses were over budget by $104,761.  This is primarily due to the fact that the support of Basic Conference Operations was over budget by $82,995 and an expense in Church Development and Renewal that was not expected to occur until 2012.

Overall Net Loss was only off from budget by $17,401 due to the gains earned on investments offsetting our overage in expenses.

The Road to 2013

When we have had a net loss in the “Basic Conference Operations” portion of our budget, we compensate for it by spending other assets which reduces the amount available for our “Other Program Funds.”  In 2008, when the Conference Board of Directors realized (due to improved reporting) that the Basic Conference Operations was operating at a deficit, they immediately set a course to balance the Basic Conference Operations of the budget by 2013.  We have made significant progress towards this goal, decreasing the deficit in Basic Conference Operations from $255,913 in 2008 to a proposed deficit of $20,303 in 2013:



Your Conference Board of Directors and staff have worked diligently to manage expenses.  Every line item has been reevaluated over the past five years.  We believe that we have cut everything possible and know the only way to balance the budget is to grow income.  It is for this reason, we have restructured our staff to provide focus on stewardship, vitality, and growth.   We seek to not only balance the budget, but to build for a strong and sustainable future, including funding strategies other than the sale of properties, that support the “Other Program Funds.”  I will share more on our staffing below.

Conference Staff Restructure

On December 6, 2011, in Connections From Felix, Rev. Villanueva shared that the Conference Board of Directors had approved a staff restructuring plan.  The purpose of the restructure was to:

  • Provide adequate support to allow the Conference Minister to focus on key issues of visioning, fundraising, and relationship building.
  • Provide adequate staffing to manage complex strategies and critical relationships.
  • Provide professional staffing to develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy.
  • Enable the Conference to be strategic rather than reactionary.
  • Provide for program development needed for the vitality of our congregations.
  • Develop a much needed Young Adult Ministry in our Conference.
  • Provide staff support for Outdoor Ministry as we face the new realities at Pilgrim Pines.

In order to assist you in understanding the roles and strengths of each of our staff, we have developed a document entitled, Who Does What?  You can download it here.  Your Conference Board of Directors and staff have begun a strategic planning process and already have some great things to share with you at Annual Gathering.  In fact, we want to hear from you.  Rev. Villanueva has invited you to give input as we prepare for our strategic planning retreat.  Click here to participate.

Pilgrim Pines and Outdoor Ministries

In fall 2011, you began receiving information about the struggles at Pilgrim Pines.  We shared with you the financial challenges faced, our commitment to having camp opportunities for children and youth, and how we were investigating possibilities that would allow us to keep Pilgrim Pines Camp ( a treasured and valuable resource in our Conference).  After having a feasibility study conducted by United Camps, Conferences, and Retreats, your Conference Board of Directors entered into an agreement that allows Pilgrim Pines Camp to remain open and available to all of us.

United Camps, Conferences, and Retreats are experts in managing camps and have a strong relationship with our Northern California Nevada Conference.  Our agreement with them will significantly reduce the financial losses the camp has suffered in recent years and allow us to work towards a sustainable future.  Cynthia Diggs, our new Camp Manager began work on May 1, 2012.

Our new camp management structure brings a team of experts in managing facilities.  It also brings new challenges and opportunities.  United Camps, Conferences, and Retreats does not provide programming.  One of the first things discovered as we evaluated the challenges at Pilgrim Pines was that our program staffing model was not sustainable.  Additionally, that staffing model did not provide members of our Conference with the rewarding opportunities of serving at camp in volunteer capacities, allowing all of us to participate in transforming lives.

To meet this challenge, the Conference Board of Directors has formed an Outdoor Ministries Team.  This team of volunteers, chaired by the Rev. Petra Malleis-Sternberg has set out on the audacious goal of developing our camping programs and year-round retreats, recruiting volunteers, and increasing communication about all the wonderful things happening at Pilgrim Pines.  Check out the new Outdoor Ministries section of Connecting Voices, our online magazine to see more.  In just six short months, this team has set out to recruit over 200 volunteers who will take part in transforming the lives of over 450-500 campers this summer.  If you would like to volunteer for summer camp, you can find information here.  If you would like to be a part of the Outdoor Ministries Team, you can contact the Rev. Petra Malleis-Sternberg.

We have also formed a Facilities Team which has been charged with oversight of the facilities of Pilgrim Pines.  This team, chaired by Thomas Mason, will work closely with United Camps, Conferences, and Retreats to ensure the facilities are well maintained.  If you have an interest in assisting with this oversight, we would love to hear from you.  You can e-mail Thomas Mason for more information.

On The Horizon

Watch E-News and Connecting Voices!  We have many exciting things on the horizon.  At Annual Gathering, you will hear about some of them:  Plans to host the entire Untied Church of Christ at General Synod 29 in Long Beach, Vitality Events, A New Church Restart, and more.   As your Conference Board of Directors and staff work on the strategic plan, we will share more about our exciting future!

Love!  Justice! Vision! Hope! Service! Sprit! Worship! Prayer! Passion! Education! Joy!  God is showering our Conference!  Join us at Annual Gathering and hear more!

Other Reports:

Report of the Conference Board of Directors Chair

Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations

Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Border and Latino Ministries

Report of the Youth Ministry Coordinator

Report of the Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

Report of the Outdoor Ministry Team

Report of the Joint Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/United Church of Christ Global Ministry Committee

Report from Retirement Housing Foundation

Report from Peppermint Ridge

Report from Pilgrim Place

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