Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On Wednesday July 16th, with eight people present, the following proposal (b0ld, italics) was presented, discussed and adopted.
On June 24, 2014 Gift of Grace temporarily adjusted Pastor Fecher’s pay so that he would be paid $1490 net, per month, plus benefits and housing.1) The accounting of this adjustment in compensation and benefits ($1966/mo) will be understood as assuming an ongoing liability to Pastor Fecher in the form of a loan (rather than as a renegotiation of his contract) for as long as this temporary period extends.2) This liability will include all unpaid compensation, pension payments, and the interest that would have accrued from the unpaid portion of the pension payments.3) The unpaid compensation will be due a 5% interest rate per annum.
As conceded on June 24th. We must have additional meetings to further discuss the implications of this proposal [that adjusted pastor's salary by cutting it half] and the concerns surrounding it. Our first discussion will be on Wednesday July 30th, 7-8:30 PM. Please plan to attend. The Steering Team will consider how best to frame our discussions. Some basic questions that must be discussed are:
1) Are we committed to continue forward in our mission, building on the foundation already laid.
2) If so, what form will that take?
3) Do we want to scrap the ministry and try to start over?
4) If so, what form will that take?
5) How will we sustain whatever we do from a financial perspective and a human resource perspective?
6) Do we want to cease being a congregation together?
7) If so, what are our plans to meet our obligations for proper closure and what will we do with the congregation’s assets?
Peace and power to you from Christ,
Gift of Grace Steering Team
The congregation met last Wednesday night to do our due diligence in affirming a budget. The two main reasons we needed to do this were: 1) acknowledge to ourselves our financial picture 2) have an official document to be able to share with any potential mission partners.
Here is what we adopted:
Adopted proposal 7/2/14
We agree that the 3 documents presented (Financial Narrative, Profit Loss Budget vs Actual, Balance Sheet) [attached to this email] accurately represents the circumstances of Gift of Grace finances for 2014, both what has actually happened and the plan forward given our current trajectory.
Dear Friends in Christ,
At the congregational meeting last night there were nine members present and 2 guests. We adopted the proposal below. We give thanks to God for all who participated and all who held the meeting in prayer. Being just two sentences, the proposal reflects the outcome of the meeting, but not the passion and love that led to the outcome. It also does not reflect the dedication to our mission that was clearly expressed at the meeting.As the proposal indicates, this is the beginning of hard work. The proposal is a necessary but insufficient measure. Please pay attention to upcoming meetings and plan to participate. We need each other to proceed faithfully.
We had a meeting last Wednesday night that followed up last week’s email, the subject line of which read, Very Important Gift of Grace Meeting. About 25 people were present. The Steering Team had very modest goals for the meeting: 1) inform the congregation that the June 15 payroll check for the pastor would be deferred, 2) Acknowledge the need to free up cash immediately and into the future 3) begin a discussion about how to do that.
In our messy, consensus building way we were able to agree to this proposal: Expenses are greater than income so that we can no longer afford the pastor’s salary as agreed. We propose renegotiating the pastoral contract. The Steering Team will call another meeting of the congregation within a week to solidify the details of the renegotiation.
So, you can expect an email in the very near future inviting you to the next meeting during which we will look at the new shape of congregational ministry with the pastor at less pay. There is no requirement that you attended the last meeting to attend this meeting. You can come.
We give thanks to God that we are given the opportunity to invest our whole selves in lifting up Christ for our neighbors and inviting them more deeply into the life of God. It is a blessing to be able to stick together during difficult times while making difficult decisions about how to do this. Thanks be to God for those who participated in this last meeting. When you receive the email inviting you to the next meeting please make the time to come.
peace and power to you from Christ,
Pastor Fecher, Vivian Little, Tim Linnemann
The Steering Team
Give thanks to God for Little Castle Preschool, one of the ministries of Gift of Grace. It has been a somewhat hidden ministry because it’s had a hard time gaining momentum. Nevertheless it has been quietly plugging along and gaining stability through the efforts of the director Adrienne Wilson and the support of Pastor Fecher and congregational neighbor and friend Karla Meursing. Others have also participated, notably Vivian Little and Tims Linnemann and Lemly.
The goal of this ministry is primarily to empower Adrianne to begin a preschool with the intent that it becomes her own independent preschool with its own official 501c3 (non-profit status) by January 2015. When we achieve this goal Gift of Grace will be responsible for helping give birth to a new business in Wallingford. We are helping create from scratch jobs and service. No small accomplishment. This is ministry a good example of our congregational values of risky creativity and trustworthy stewardship.
A secondary goal is that the preschool will generate income for Gift of Grace. Although we are not on schedule receiving income according to the timeline we originally set for ourselves we expect to be receiving some this summer, getting up to speed as quickly as possible. We had hoped to be generating $1900 monthly by January 2015. This is also the date for Little Castle Preschool achieving independent non-protfit status and it still seems within reach.
How can you participate? You already do by supporting Gift of Grace’s mission. Additional ways are:
1) Remember Adrienne and this ministry, especially in your prayers.
2) Tell everyone you know about Little Castle Preschool and encourage potential students’ parents to communicate with Adrienne.
3) Remain aware that the preschool is operating in the basement of the church Monday – Friday, 9AM – 1PM, being careful not to enter or disturb the space when school is in session except by prior agreement.
4) When flyers become available take them and distribute them in places parents congregate (coffee shops, bars, restaurants, parks, other churches, colleges)
5) Ask Adrienne directly how you can help. Sometimes she needs to collect art supplies and items used for craft projects like used egg cartons and gold bullion. Adrienne’s phone number is (206) 383-9531, her email: email@example.com
Giving thanks be to God for allowing us the opportunity to be part of this service,
Pastor Jami Fecher
Life in Christ is an adventure that is a lot deeper than fun. Fun is surface. It is pleasurable and more or less predictable, but for that very reason, it is shallow. Lent is the church season that intentionally focuses us on the part of the Christian adventure that is deeper than fun. It is unpredictable, serious, earnest, and often unpleasurable. In Lent we take time to look closely at the need for a Savior: our personal need and the world’s need. The world is a mess and it needs help, so do we.
How in the world do we invite others into this adventure when it has no selling points? When it invites us to look at what we are desperate to deny and it does not promise us any pleasure, only Truth? When it encourages us to face our own limits: limits of compassion and love, limits of willingness, energy, and vision? It’s just not that fun to look at this stuff. But it is real and authentic, just like God’s love in Christ.
The only thing I can see that empowers us to invite others into this adventure is love for them, not our love. God’s. Lent done right will uncover the limits of my love for my neighbor, but it will reveal to me the depth of God’s love and forgiveness for sinners like me; sinners whose love limits are unacceptably low. The promise of Lent is that God will say again to me and the church, “I know this sin of yours. I forgive it and I love you. Go, love with my love not your own limited love. Go invite with my invitation, not with your own ambivalent invitation.” This promise alone gives us the power to invite others into this adventure. The question for each of us is, “How will I obey?” Pastor Jami Fecher
Gift of Grace is hosting and inviting you to a presentation and discussion with our Wallingford neighbor, Dr Douglas Schuler, professor at Evergreen College. The discussion will take place after GraceFeast (12:15ish) on March 9 and will be held in the sanctuary. Dr Schuler has compelling ideas for improving public discourse and helping people gain what he calls, civic intelligence.