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First Things, April 2017

March 28, 2017

Later this year, possibly as early as June, members of First Church will make an important decision about the future of our church.

The issue is the persistent gap between our income and expenses.  For years we have spent more money than we earn. And for years we have worked to achieve financial sustainability by growing our congregation and by increasing rental income.  That plan encountered a major roadblock last year when the city denied our application for a Zoning Variance that would have allowed us to use Fritchman Auditorium as a commercial events venue.  Without that income, it’s probably not possible to cover our current expenses related to building maintenance, staff salaries, and church programs.

The need to rethink our long-range plan gives us an opportunity to focus again on the essential questions, “Who are we?”  “What is the purpose of First Church?” and “Why does it matter?”  It is the answers to those questions that will guide our future.

Due to the generosity of Jim Schmeltzer, our church has sufficient funding for the next few years.  We still have a good-sized congregation, good rental income, and the asset of our building.  The church is healthy.

But we need to make important decisions.  And the time to make those decisions is now, while the church is healthy.

I hope you’ll be part of the process.  Make a commitment to participate in at least one opportunity this month to learn about the issues and make your voice heard.

Participate in a 1-2-1 conversation.  Attend the Board meeting.  Attend a congregational workshop.

And when the time comes let’s make a good decision.

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