Pastor’s Pen – January 5, 2020

Dear First United Methodist Church Family,

Happy New Year! A big thank you to everyone who financially supported FUMC in 2019, and specifically to those who gave an extra end-of-the-year financial gift. Our initial projection is that we ended 2019 with less of a deficit than 2018.

As in years past, however, 2019 required us to use money in our reserves to meet our commitments–and our reserves are now almost depleted. Therefore, the church’s Leadership Council voted in December to balance the church’s budget in 2020. While staying committed to finding new ways of sharing Christ in the greater Boca community, FUMC will need to make changes to live within our means.

One important opportunity we have to live more successfully within our means is through a partnership with the Emerging Minds Montessori Academy (EMMA), currently housed on our West Campus. As shared with you previously, a task force has been working since January 2019 to evaluate EMMA’s offer to buy our property with the intention of leasing it back to us for our continuing operations.

On December 16th, our Leadership Council approved, by a strong majority, sending the EMMA proposal to the entire FUMC congregation for a vote. As we have also shared previously, only our church members—not the pastors, nor the Leadership Council—can approve the sale of property.

On Sunday, January 12th, we will be publishing the specific terms of the deal for the church to review via weekly church bulletin and our website. In short, the proposal’s main points are that we would sell EMMA the west campus property for 3 million dollars. EMMA would then lease back to us use of the campus for a nominal fee. For the term of the lease, we would continue to worship weekly in the Chapel, utilize the Fellowship Hall, and hold special events like the Pumpkin Patch. Importantly, while our operations would continue, we would no longer be responsible for maintaining the facility or managing the property.

We know you will have questions. Therefore, for the next several weeks, we’ll be holding a number of Q&A sessions on both campuses. It is our desire to have the three administrators of the Montessori Academy available to share their dreams and vision with the congregation at these gatherings as well.

Please mark your calendars: the vote on whether or not to partner with EMMA will take place at a congregational meeting on Sunday, February 16th, at 4:00 pm in the East Campus Sanctuary. Church rules specify that votes must be cast in person: no absentee or write-in voting is allowed.

What can you do now? Please continue to pray for our future. The initial vision implantation team, the Montessori task force, and the church’s Leadership Council all agree that the health of our church in the future is to use our resources less on maintaining and administering facilities and more on people and helping them to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus.

And please keep an eye out for the terms of the proposal that will be made available on January 12th, as well as invitations to the Q&A sessions on both campuses to come.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to the entire Montessori task force for their prayers and dedication over the last 12 months.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus