Pastor’s Pen – January 22, 2020

Hello Church family,
Hope you are enjoying the cold weather today! During this time of year, I am thankful for those who serve in ministry to the homeless. Please pray for the Changing Lives outreach at our church each Saturday morning and those in our community that serve the homeless population in Boca.
I want to share an update from our Leadership Council meeting on Monday night. The main conversation at the meeting was about our next steps now that the Emerging Minds Montessori Academy (EMMA) has withdrawn their partnership offer and shared that they will no longer be a tenant of the West Campus beginning in September 2021, at the end of their lease. This development means we must make significant financial changes at FUMC in 2020 and 2021.

To determine our way forward, our leadership returned to the last vote cast by the members of FUMC. In April 2018, more than 20 months ago, we had a called church meeting regarding the sale of the West Campus. At this meeting, FUMC members voted to table the issue of whether to sell property until we evaluated and attempted to live into certain budget and ministry goals. It was during this period of evaluation that the EMMA partnership was proposed to us, unsolicited.

Now that the EMMA proposal is no longer under consideration, we will be living into our agreed response from that April 2018 meeting, specifically the statement that says, “The congregation will be asked to take action prayerfully, which includes the selling of property, so that we can live into the vision of FUMC.”

As you may recall, we previously scheduled several congregational, town hall-style meetings to discuss the EMMA proposal. We would like to continue with some of those meetings, using that time instead to share the financial realities we are facing this year. The first meeting will be held on the West Campus on Monday, February 3rd at 6:30pm. The second meeting will be held on the East Campus on Sunday, February 9th at 12:15pm. Everyone is invited to these meetings, where leadership and staff will share details and answer questions about our budget, reserves, and vision for the future. We will also discuss the continued need to realign pastors, staff, and facility expenses over the next 6-12 months.

The Leadership Council also approved to retain the previously scheduled congregational meeting led by our District Superintendent on Sunday, February 16th at 4pm. At this meeting, we will now be asking church members to approve the need to engage developers, realtors, and/or other potential partners about options for partnership, development, or sale of the West Campus property.

Before assembling to vote on February 16th, please try to attend one of the town hall meetings to get a full picture of the serious financial challenges facing our congregation. Those meetings are your opportunity to ask questions and engage with church leadership, if you so desire.

Monday’s meeting was a very important one, and our Leadership Council is a group of dedicated women and men who seek to live into the vision of FUMC. Please continue to pray for the Leadership Council, staff, and pastors of FUMC.

I am looking forward to Sunday worship when we talk about what keeps us from sharing our faith.

In  God’s Amazing Grace,
Pastor Marcus