The summer is long gone and Christmas is just around the corner. I would like to try and summarize the activities of your Leadership Council in the past five months. This will be a year end summary as well, since no business will be conducted at the December Leadership Council meeting. Once again, I offer this disclaimer; these are a summary of my recollections, notes, and review of the minutes from the past meetings. If an opinion is offered, it is mine alone. It is my desire to keep everyone informed about their church’s leadership activities. Everyone on leadership wants to be open about our church activities. We are all readily available to discuss any issue or concern. This will be a somewhat lengthy report.
At the August 20 meeting, concern was expressed about a Facebook public post entitled “West Boca Methodist Community Share”. Since 2008, there has been no such entity as is the “West Boca Methodist Church/Community”. There was agreement that all matters relating to the church should be posted on the FUMC Facebook site.
The staff parish committee reported considerable difficulty in finding individuals who were trained, experienced, or interested in assuming both children and youth ministry. The finance committee continued to evaluate possible solutions to our budget deficit. Fran Bertoti and I spoke with district superintendent Dr. Cynthia Weem, and both were convinced that the superintendent believed the sale of church parsonages was not in the best interest of the church and therefore would not approve any such action. That matter was closed. Pastor Marcus indicated that the Strategic Planning and Ministries Assessment Task Forces will be giving their report at the October meeting. Pastor Rachel presented her proposal for the Fresh Expressions Ministry, including the budget. After some discussion and debate, the motion to approve the ministry and the budget expenditure($48,000) were approved.
I did not attend the September meeting which was chaired by Joe Manino. The staff parish committee made a motion to offer Wyatt Robinson the position as Director of Youth Ministry. The motion passed unanimously. The finance committee continue to express concerns about the financial shortfall of the church and to warn of the possibility of significant cuts to the 2019 budget. The trustees recommended moving funds from the previous West campus bathroom upgrade to repairing the roof on the chapel at the West campus. This motion was passed unanimously. Pastor Marcus distributed a letter from Emerging Minds Montessori Academy, the school we currently lease space on the West campus. They indicated an interest in purchasing the West campus property. They indicated that they would be willing and happy to create an arrangement in which the West Campus Ministry would continue. There was general interest by the council members about looking into this possibility further. No Action Was Proposed to Sell the West Campus.
The Leadership Council Meeting of October 15th, lasted four hours. Owners of the Emerging Minds Montessori Academy made a presentation to the Council. They indicated their desire to purchase the West campus property in order to expand the school and create equity in the enterprise. They indicated their purpose was missional in scope (and not entrepreneurial). It is their desire to educate and help children whose families are financially compromised. They intend to seek federal funding and nonprofit status as a part of this goal. In addition, they have enjoyed the relationship with our church and want to continue that. They would continue to allow church worship at the West campus, while owning and maintaining the facilities. The Council was impressed with their sincerity, their missional goals, and their genuine interest in preserving the West campus church operations. A motion was made and unanimously carried to create a subcommittee to investigate the possibility of such an arrangement. The church nominating committee will select the committee members with final approval by the leadership Council. It is anticipated that these discussions and recommendations will take 4 to 6 months to complete. As a result, the school asked for a one-year extension on their lease and that extension was approved by the Council. The committee will report back to the Council throughout the process. No decision has been made to sell the West campus at this time. I believe this may be a wonderful opportunity to solve significant financial issues, and at the same time maintain our West campus ministry.
Pastor Marcus presented the recommendations of the Ministries Reassessment Team and Strategic Planning Team. THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE AVAILABLE from the church office . The Leadership Council endorsed all of the recommendations of the Strategic Planning Team, and all of the recommendations of the Ministries Reassessment Team, except recommendation number 4 under the category of Worship. That recommendation was referred back to the team for further consideration.
Wyatt Robinson, our new Director of Student Ministries, introduced himself and discussed his plans for the student ministry. Jill Haire, submitted a comprehensive written report on our Connections Ministry. The “Connections Fair”, held at our combined worship service on September 30 was a great success and very informative. Pastor Marcus reported that the church nominations committee would be meeting within the next week and presenting its report at the Charge Conference to be held Sunday, November 4 at Christ United Methodist Church in Fort Lauderdale.
Two motions were proposed by the Staff Parish Committee later in the month of October. Both motions were distributed and voted on using email. Staff Parish believed there was some urgency and the Council should not wait to act until the November 19 meeting. Firstly, a per diem pianist and organist was being employed Sundays on the East campus following the retirement of Craig Ames. A permanent replacement was found and will be a $3000 savings from the original budgeted salary. The motion to employ this individual was passed. Secondly, Wyatt Robinson expressed interest in the Children’s Ministry in addition to being Director of Student Ministries. Staff parish recommended a salary adjustment and the hiring of Wyatt as our Director of Family Ministry, in charge of both the children’s and youth programs. (This had been our original goal back in July.) This motion was passed.
The South East District Charge Conference Was Held on November 4th, and the FUMC Report, including programs, nominations, and clergy compensation, were all approved.
At the Council meeting of November 19th, pastor Marcus presented an update on several items. The Montessori Proposal Team should be in place by mid-December. He presented updates and implementation of the Ministries Reassessment and Strategic Planning Teams Recommendations.
The Staff Parish committee presented a detailed report in writing on their analysis of the church office staff and the church music program. I encourage you to obtain a copy of that report. It is quite enlightening. The committee interviewed all of the staff and were impressed with their loyalty and devotion to the church. None of the employees had received a pay raise in four years. One of the employees had not received a pay raise in 10 years, and as a result, that individual was given a 3% raise in 2018. Since the retirement of our music minister, Bob Sheffey, the music on the East Campus has been directed by a different person at each of the traditional and contemporary services. This has not worked out as well as expected. As a result the Staff Parish committee made a motion for Arlene Sparks to be made director of all music ministries at FUMC. A salary adjustment was recommended for the significant increase in time this position would require. The motion passed.
The finance committee gave a comprehensive report, including graphic analysis of church attendance and giving in 2018. Both are trending down. The church pledge drive for 2019 has started and the initial results are promising. 30 new people have turned in pledge cards so far. The pledge drive will continue through December. The finance committee made a motion to continue church funding through February 2019, at the same levels as 2018. Staff salaries would also continue at the 2018 level. The motion was passed. The pumpkin patch project was very successful and everyone was thanked for their hard work. The results of the financial survey are being reviewed. There was a fairly good response of 178 members. A detailed analysis will be forthcoming. Some preliminary results indicate that Youth and Children are the number one priority of church members voting. Number two is Pastoral Care and Leadership, followed closely by Music and Worship. It was my opinion that written responses expressed very diverse opinions.
The trustees committee provided a comprehensive report of their priorities for 2019. They also provided a list of recent projects completed on the east and west campuses, and on both parsonages.
I hope this summary has been helpful. We have an excellent Leadership Council, and each member is working diligently to make FUMC the ministry we believe God wants it to be. We are eager to answer any concerns you have.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Chair, Leadership Council, FUMC, BR