Financial News, November 2022

It really is not easy writing about finances – churches do not like to talk about money – and yet we always need money for the missions and ministries of our church.  And so I repeat … How do you begin an article on finance time after time – when the message is often that we need more money – which is true – however the important message is that we are VERY RICH!  And the attitude must be one of plenty and not scarcity. 

I said in the July Newsletter that by this time I hope the gap to the end of the year is at least planned.  That gap will be met if:

  • Folks meet the commitments made to the budget
  • Folks continue to think about adopting a bill
    • Internet has been adopted for the whole year
    • Elevator/Lift yearly maintenance was adopted
    • Adopt money for whatever bill in various months
    • November Liability Payment was adopted
  • Apportionment Commitment
    • One individual committed $8000 to Apportionments over the year and that will be fulfilled
    • Other gifts to Apportionments have been received
  • Here is where you could help to assure our Apportionments are met – make a “13th month commitment” and target it to Apportionments

Currently we are not doing any meals at the church – and we all miss eating and fellowshipping together – and we all know that those gatherings for food were also ways income was added to the church budget. Know that we are rethinking how to make up that loss of revenue.  There might be something coming in December – keep your eyes alert for the news!

As we move into 2023 we will have a Financial Stewardship Campaign in January as we have done the last few years – this is to identify that which you commit to the Operating Budget for the year 2023.  Details of that will come with the event.

Now the challenging part – those fun(d) raising dollars!  What should they be and what would they look like. It is time to think about finances with both short and long term goals – always keeping mission and ministry in the forefront. There was a long – serious – productive discussion at the November Ad Board Meeting.  NPUMC will take a deep dive into financial discussions as a WHOLE CONGREGATION – Saturday, January 21 has been reserved for a “day of financial visioning and financial stewardship”. We will discuss long and short term goals – look at some models of doing finance work differently – have an opportunity for your craziest idea to be out on paper – a time to dream – both realistic dreams and perhaps putting some legs on those crazy dreams!  Please do come and be part of this adventure.

Remember we are part of a Cooperative Parish and have observed that there are many possibilities! We are in a different place and time! We will be doing more with the churches in our Cooperative Parish! And who knows what that future will feature! Let’s be sure we have our eyes and minds and ears and hearts open to what the Lord presents to us! And so…keeping alive our Wesleyan heritage of doing no harm, doing good and staying in love with God.  Mark your calendars – we will gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings on NPUMC and keep the lights glowing on the corner of Main and Grove.


Financial Update, July 2022

from Margaret Howe, NPUMC Financial Secretary

I could begin this article with the same first two paragraphs as the last newsletter – so I will…..

How do you begin an article on finance time after time – when the message is often that we need more money – which is true – however the important message is that we are VERY RICH!  And the attitude must be one of plenty and not scarcity. 

Our income at the moment is entirely from US – you and me – the members and friends of New Paltz United Methodist Church. And, we are doing okay.  We are not current with commitments, however, I have faith that those gifts will come.

We do need to think about filling the gap – what might that be?

We continue to have some folks who Adopt a Bill each month and we do have some beyond the $600 per month pledge to Apportionments.  We are at the 6 month look and I do not want to get to October and November and not have that gap planned.  I encourage all who made a commitment to make sure you are current. 

Here is the challenge: if you have an idea about a fun(d) raiser, email to the church the idea and how you think it might work.  When received the finance team will review and then present to the administrative board and we will see what happens!

Here is challenge #2: we are in need of really cleaning things up and out at church.  I think there may still be boxes of books from previous book sales stored (if I am wrong and there are not then this is not a challenge).  Let’s bring those books up on the lawn on a designated day and have a book sale.  Cost would be donation.  At the end all books will be donated to library fairs or disposed of properly.  The result: a wee bit of money and less stuff! If we have these books we need to set a date and MUST have volunteers to do the lifting and moving.  I can be a volunteer on the lawn, I physically cannot lift.  Thoughts as we care for our church.  Perhaps we could sell a picnic lunch on the lawn that day?

We are in a different place and time! We will be doing more with the churches in our Cooperative Parish! And who knows what that future will feature! Let’s be sure we have our eyes and minds and ears and hearts open to what the Lord presents to us!

As John Wesley says and we say too

            Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.


Financial Update, May 2022

from Margaret Howe, NPUMC Financial Secretary

How do you begin an article on finance time after time – when the message is often that we need more money – which is true – however the important message is that we are VERY RICH!  And the attitude must be one of plenty and not scarcity. 

Our income at the moment is entirely from US – you and me – the members and friends of New Paltz United Methodist Church. And, we are doing okay.  We are not current with commitments, however, I have faith that those gifts will come.

The cash flow for the Operating Budget is in satisfactory condition because over the years we have been good stewards of our financial gifts to New Paltz United Methodist Church.  And we have an amazing Planned Giving design/strategy.  Thank you Dan Ruback for your smart care of our financial gifts over the years which allows us to see some benefits each year without disturbing the investments.  I do not know many small churches who have what we have.  Interested in making the church part of your will; interested in gifting some of your annual required IRA withdrawal to the church; interested in knowing some of your options, speak to Dan.

The above being said – that cash does not continue for the whole year.  So, we will continue to look at what fund raising might happen – as food ministry at New Paltz UMC has taken a different and VERY important and beneficial road.  Thank you Food Supplement Program and Fresh Food Giveway – and our new garden at Jackson’s property.

A few people asked me about our Central Hudson bill – with all the news about Central Hudson’s billing system issues.  Yes, we are/were a victim of improper billing – in addition to the increased costs that Central Hudson predicted.  Currently we are in the recovery mode!

A bit about the Ukraine money you have gifted.  As the last Newsletter noted, there are two areas where money could be donated – and 100% of the money goes to Ukraine.  Through March and April you had donated $1025 for Ukraine – I divided the amount equally between the two.  Thank you for your gifts!

And the scripture for us might be Philippians 4:6  – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God………May it be so……


Financial Update, March 2022

from Margaret Howe, NPUMC Financial Secretary

I began my last Financial Update with “thank you – thank you – thank you” and I begin this one the same way. The thank you is for your response to our yearly Financial Stewardship Campaign. It was successful! We have folks committing for the first time – we have folks who increased commitments and we have the strong and steady group of committed givers. Your commitments totaled $97,780. NPUMC did approve for 2022 a deficit budget. The deficit is $10,500 which is the amount we usually bring in with Fun(d) Raising events. At the moment, we have not restored our fund-raising events and are still working on creative ways to do ministry and mission which has a financial by-product.  If each of you is able to keep current on your commitments, we can remain strong and then seek what we need.  You have been so very generous. We are a bright spot on the corner of Main and Grove.  Thank you.

The Finance Committee and Administrative Board will keep a watchful and prayerful eye on our operating finances. I can hear and see Fran Hasbrouck and Selden Spencer – they were always optimistic about finances – I pray that they look down on us with smiles for what we are doing at NPUMC – it is good!

As you may have heard Repair Café is doing a major fund-raising event at the church in late April – a rummage sale! There is lots of advertising out there and this is being organized by others – we provide the space. The purpose is to raise funds to hire someone to replace the organizing work that our beloved John Wackman did. And Repair Café will be giving the church a fee for using the space – it is fair and good. In addition, we, the church, will do some sort of concession that day – details still being developed – and the income will be for NPUMC. So…. come and support both Repair Café and NPUMC – it is good!

Twelve Step groups are beginning to ask about coming back. One has returned. A second one will start up or may have started as you are reading this. Over the two years of COVID, the 12 step groups have found some innovative ways to stay together – and yes they have become zoom experts. The fact that our church is internet connected means they can do zoom meetings from our space as well – it is good!

The Trustees are holding their annual “No Dinner Chicken Dinner” – this is to remind you that you can make your donation OnLine – or invite your friends to make it OnLine. When the question is asked where you want your money to go click “Fun(d) Raising” and the money will go directly to the Trustees. This is an important event for the Trustees – not the Operating Budget – however we are all in this together – it is good!

COVID is still here and it looks like COVID issues will be part of everything we do. However, more importantly, it is that we are still here…we are still doing God’s work – all of us – it is good!

Spring is approaching – and Carol Bialy and friends will be planting in the garden to produce the summer “fresh food”.  Want to help them weed?  Nice weather is coming – maybe some worship on the lawn?  Just because it is summer – do not put your knitting needles away – we need to replenish the Mitten Tree box for next year – maybe an evening of knitting on the lawn? I could go on and on – will stop rambling.  I love my church and church family! As we vision – let us be open to the spirit blowing the winds of God’s love and light and ideas – it is good!

With Gratitude and Thanksgiving,
Margaret


Financial Update, January 2022

from Margaret Howe, NPUMC Financial Secretary

Thank you – thank you – thank you. We completed our 2021 finance obligations with success! All of our bills were paid.  You stepped to the plate and we were able to pay our apportionments in full.  We were able to give the Trustees half of what we anticipated giving them.  I will give you some statistics later.  It was a difficult financial year for New Paltz UMC as well as with most churches as we all worked through and worshipped through COVID.

COVID – we had hoped was “going away” and then the variants appeared – Delta and Omicron – and the issues began again – we had opened for in person worship – then closed and reopened – and on Christmas Eve closed again.  And, through it all so much happened – 

– we are doing ministry and mission work here on the corner of Main and Grove.

We have continued and continue to upgrade our technology – in the sanctuary for worship and in the building.  Thanks go to Linda Mellor for doing the work and to the Annual Conference and individual financial gifts for the allowing the purchase of equipment.  Linda does want and needs someone to become a techie and her backup.  Let us know!

What we have not been able to do during the past two years of COVID and for the foreseeable future is our in person/onsite food ministries, which are also fund raisers.  Our concern and care for the safety of ourselves and guests is the reason.  And, this is where we saw the financial gap.

Only one of our 12 Step groups has returned.  Camerata Chorale and Poné have not done any concerts in the last two years.  PlaySchool is not yet to full capacity and as they return they will go back to their normal maintenance fee. 

We continue to receive income from monies invested by our Trustees.  We are very fortunate to have Trustees who understand how to invest so that we have money for big projects like roof replacements or heating plant work.  And, that a piece of the investment plan and formulas provide yearly income to the operating budget.  When Dan Ruback wants to talk about Planned Giving – pay attention!  We have been the beneficiaries of many wonderful gifts.  The annual amount to the Operating Budget was critical to us these last two years.

A success for NPUMC was creating the OnLine Giving opportunities through VANCO! Regular giving and gifts can now be done via a bank account or credit card online through a safe and secure company.  Some data:

  • 15% of the 2021 committed giving was done online. 
  • In addition, over $5000 of gifts were given by “new givers” over the year, people who have now joined us as regular worshippers or appreciated the hymn-a-longs or Taizé or joined a study. 
  • In some cases, former members who have moved away are participating in the NPUMC ministries. 

This is all good and perhaps would never have happened!

In addition to your annual commitments to the church budget – for 2021 the commitment from the stewardship campaign was $86,000The actual amount received was $81,173 or 94% of what was committed.  In a COVID year – thank you.  The money not received was a result of circumstances we could not control.  In addition to this commitment many of you “adopted a bill” ($5609) and gave “an Apportionment gift” ($5450) – thank you. These commitments and extra gifts remind me that we are living our “membership commitment” which says “….will you be loyal to the United Methodist Church and uphold it by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your services and your witness.”  We at NPUMC are doing all of this!!!!

We are now in 2022 and COVID is still among us.  The Finance Committee and Administrative Board have been discussing the Operating Budget and how we will manage this year.  Soon, you will receive your 2021 Statement and the 2022 Financial Stewardship Letter with a request for your 2022 Commitment.  Once we know the commitment level for 2022, we can make some decisions concerning our financial outlook for the year. 

COVID has certainly an impact on all things financial.  Please look at your commitment opportunity and find some time to be in prayer as you make your decisions for NPUMC in 2022.  What is that right scripture – which reflects our thanks – our concerns – our joys – how is God asking us to be in mission and ministry on the corner of Main and Grove. And so….

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Amen.


Financial Update, November 2021

from Margaret Howe, NPUMC Financial Secretary

Greetings my friends – I have been talking with you about finances over the past several months – finances which are needed in order to continue for us to do the important missions and ministries here on the corner of Main and Grove.  Many of you have offered comments and questions and concerns – thank you for sharing. I think we need to understand that our current financial situation is not unlike many other churches.  However, how we handle the situation – how we work through it and move forward will make the difference.  We need to see with new eyes…..new opportunities…new adventures…and perhaps new missions and ministries – our lights will continue to shine bright.  More on that a bit later.

In the meantime – we need to get through this fiscal year 2021.  So…I am going to copy some of what I put in the Charge Conference booklet… Yes, we are all working around – through – and in COVID – and I think doing amazingly well in making sure we are providing worship opportunities on three platforms – in person, ZOOM and facebook.  Many of us attended a workshop “Both/And” to help us better understand what we needed to provide the best connections to one another.  We received a grant $800 from NYAC and a full $800 match to purchase the equipment.  You will begin to see some changes in our technology.  Thank you to the ReOpening/Technology Team!

I think we are all aware that the majority of our fun(d) raising events involve food – we have been blessed to be a church with ongoing food ministries.  Food Supplement and 4th Sunday Fresh Food Give-a-Way successfully continue.  Our in person feeding ministry/mission is what has been “on hold” – and will likely continue to be.  It is not safe to have people sitting around our tables and eating together – how sad.  Yes, there are churches serving meals – we at New Paltz UMC will not for the time being be one of them.  Yes, we have people together in worship with required masks.  Yes, we had worship on the lawn – socially distanced and everyone still wore masks.  We will err on the side of safety – yours – mine – our neighbors…one of the three simple rules – do no harm!  Not doing Soup or Black Diamond Dinner results in a loss of, after expenses, $4000 of income for our budget.  We talked about creative fund raising – what are they – when folks are already stressed and working beyond capacities just to exist.

We asked folks to think about “Adopting a Bill”. Thank you to those who answered the call.  Through September we received $4847 with gifts continuing to come.  This certainly helps.

The fall brings the annual cost of boiler maintenance and elevator maintenance contract – total cost $1222 – the elevator bill was adopted in October.

Through September we have met monthly expenses with the exception of Apportionments and quarterly payments to the Trustees. Apportionments are the money assessed to NPUMC for the costs of doing business as the United Methodist Church.  We have paid our Apportionments in full for the last 11 years. This money comes back to us in many ways – and one was the cost of the technology training.  In our next Newsletter I will talk more about Apportionments. The Trustees use the budget money for the day to day building work that is required to keep our plant running sufficiently.  This cost is $1250 per quarter and we have not paid any yet this year. The fall and winter will bring higher heating costs. 

Now a bit about Apportionments – it is about connectional giving – that is a uniqueness of Methodism.  It states in some of the Shared Apportionment Ministry material – Together we can accomplish more than any one individual can! That’s what connectional giving, known as Shared Ministry Apportionments, is all about. Apportionments are apportioned dollars to each local church to pay for its shared expenses – again sharing the load.  Each church is assessed based on a standard formula; therefore fair for each church.  Our Apportionments average between $15,000 and $16,000 per year and we have paid in full for over eleven years.  And because we have paid we are eligible for full benefits of those payments and able to apply for additional funding – and we have received grants! 

Apportionment dollars and funding provide for…

  • scholarship opportunities for our students within our conference and worldwide
  • resources through website, newspaper, social media and so much more to keep us informed across our district, conference and world
  • provide for our annual and general gatherings – virtual or in person –  where reports are heard, petitions  debated and voted on, missionaries are commissioned, clergy are ordained and retired and we witness to what it means to be a United Methodist
  • our archives and the commission on archives to create educational resources that share our stories and preserve our history
  • educational support to 13 United Methodist seminaries and 11 Methodist related historically black colleges, clergy continuing educational opportunities, support of Africa University where 1500 students from 22 countries can nurture their hope of becoming world leaders
  • cost effective health care and pension for retired clergy
  • annual health screenings and wellness initiatives for clergy
  • opportunities to underwrite the work of laity throughout our conference
  • opportunities for a quick response to disaster relief whether mucking out a basement or installing sheetrock or listening to a homeowner’s story
  • the staff and district superintendents of our annual conference

Now, that is a lot of stuff – which creates the Annual Conference Budget.  It is hard to write about it – we already live into much of this. 

My appeal over the next two months is to be able to pay our Apportionments.  If our commitments are fulfilled we can meet all other expenses.  One person committed their annual commitment to apportionments – a $6000 pledge which is on target.  That leaves $10,000 to raise – in the last two weeks we have received significant gifts for this line – would you be willing to help us meet this 2021 commitment?  Please reach out to me.

I mentioned in the first paragraph that we need to see with new eyes…..new opportunities…new adventures…and perhaps new missions and ministries – our lights will continue to shine bright…this is probably the most important statement!  You will all be invited to be part of that discussion – so stay alert – and remember together we can do so much more – always with love as the heart of the matter.

With Gratitude and Love,
Margaret Howe


Financial Update, September 2021

from Margaret Howe, NPUMC Financial Secretary

Heavy heart…

I begin this with a heavy heart – we thought we were coming out of COVID and perhaps could address our getting together and how we might do in person, new and loved missions and ministries here at New Paltz UMC. COVID is not gone – and has caused – in my opinion an even deeper divide – who is vaccinated – who is not – and all the anger that is revolving around what should be like getting the polio vaccine. You might find this report a bit rambling as the budget is what it is and the income is what it is and there are no areas to reduce. So my heart is heavy and yet my spirit is full!

Worship continues…

Yes, we are all working around – through – and in COVID – and I think doing amazingly well in making sure we are providing worship opportunities on three platforms – in person, ZOOM and Facebook. Many of us attended a workshop “Both/And” to help us better understand what we needed to provide the best connections to one another. We received a grant $800 from NYAC and a full $800 match to purchase the equipment. You will begin to see some changes in our technology. Thank you to the ReOpening/ Technology Team!

Fun(d) raising losses…

I think we are all aware that the majority of our fun(d) raising events involve food – we have been blessed to be a church with ongoing food ministries. Food Supplement and 4th Sunday Fresh Food Give-a-Way successfully continue. Our in person feeding ministry/mission is what has been “on hold” – and will likely continue to be. It is not safe to have people sitting around our tables and eating together – how sad. Yes, there are churches serving meals – we at New Paltz UMC will not for the time being be one of them. Yes, we have people together in worship with required masks. Yes, we have held worship on the lawn – socially distanced and everyone still wearing masks. We will err on the side of safety – yours – mine – our neighbors…one of the three simple rules – do no harm! Not doing Soup or Black Diamond Dinner results in a loss of, after expenses, $4000 of income for our budget. We talked about creative fund raising – it was mentioned in last newsletter – what could it be – during COVID time everything becomes so much more difficult to do.

Adopt-a-Bill…

We asked folks to think about “Adopting a Bill”. Thank you to those who answered the call. Through July we received $3822. This certainly helps. The fall brings the annual cost of annual boiler maintenance and elevator maintenance contract – total cost $1222 – does someone want to adopt a piece of that cost?

Apportionments…

Through July we have met monthly expenses with the exception of Apportionments and quarterly payments to the Trustees. Apportionments are the money assessed to NPUMC for the costs of doing business as the United Methodist Church. We have paid our Apportionments in full for the last 11 years. This money comes back to us in many ways – and one was the cost of the technology training. The Trustees use the budget money for the day to day building work that is required to keep our plant running sufficiently. This cost is $1250 per quarter and we have not paid any yet this year. The fall and winter will bring higher heating costs. We did receive a second PPP grant/loan which helps.

Commitments…

Stated before was that our budget suffered a loss in anticipated income in committed giving due to death, folks moving and changes in life. These changes were about $12,000 to the committed giving line. We very much appreciate those who made a commitment for 2021 and are keeping that commitment current – often hard to see on a month by month basis as some folks give monthly and others quarterly in addition to those who give weekly. Online giving continues to be the correct decision – several families give Online. A week does not go by without a gift from someone who is new to one of our remote platforms or has watched the Wednesday hymn-a-Long or monthly Taize. Here is the OnLine giving link if you want to make an extra gift – Online Giving.

Help us keep the light bright!

Our church finances at the moment are similar to many churches – large and small. Here on the corner of Main and Grove we want to keep the light bright; we want to continue to be in ministry and mission in our community. PlaySchool with lots of COVID precautions will open in September. 12 Step groups with COVID protocols will return in September. Repair Café with COVID protocols will return in September. Help us keep the light bright!

Full spirit…

I said my spirit is full – and it is – because so much still continues at NPUMC – Tai-chi, Vi Cole Book Study, Knitting Together, Fresh Food Give-a-Way, Food Supplement, Mitten Tree, Taize, Weekly Hymn-a-long, Worship on the Lawn, Prayer Blanket Ministry, Bible Studies, Small Group discussions, Confirmation Class, Weekly Worship. We have something to celebrate that we as a church continue to be disciples of God….and we as members of this congregation…will faithfully participate in its ministries by prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

Let it be so. Amen.