Council Highlights
November 2020

The Bethlehem Church Council met on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.  Here are the highlights of this meeting:

Strategic Planning for 2021

  • The Council is engaged in a strategic planning process to identify congregational goals for 2021. Council members are meeting in small groups over the next several weeks to draft goals that will center on these ministry priorities:
  1. Love God (worship)
  2. Love and Care for One Another
  3. Love and Care for Our Neighbors

The Council expects to complete the planning process in December and present the goals at the annual congregational meeting on Sunday, January 31, 2021.

 

2020 Financial Update/2021 Budget Development

  • Deacon Heather provided Council with the following information with respect to this year’s budget:
  1. Weekly giving has trended ahead of budget projections through October. We have received $14,568 more than what we anticipated at this point in the year.  Praise God!
  2. Our expenses are running $164,693 less than we budgeted. This is due primarily to several unfilled staff positions and less programmatic spending across the board due to the pandemic.
  1. Preschool revenue is exceeding expenses by nearly $29,000 as of the end of October. Revenue this year has been enhanced significantly due to a federal PPP loan and a state grant.  Tuition alone has not been adequate to keep us in the black.
  • The Council will hold meetings on December 7 and 15 to examine a preliminary 2021 budget. Council expects to finalize the 2021 budget on January 11, 2021, hold several open forums later in January about the 2021 budget, and present the budget for adoption at the congregation meeting on Sunday, January 31.

 

Debt Reduction Campaign/Stewardship Commitments

  • Our debt reduction campaign is on target for the current year. Thus far we have received more than $226,000.  Our goal is to raise $267,000 by the end of the year plus an additional principal amount of $82,730.
  • Our long-term goal to pay off the 25-year mortgage in ten years is not on target. We have some work to do here.
  • A letter providing the congregation with an update about our debt reduction effort will be sent out to the congregation at the beginning of December.
  • Our annual stewardship effort is underway. God calls us to be re-gifters!  Financial commitments are now coming in.  Estimate of giving forms can be completed online by visiting the church website or by clicking on the link in the Friday e-blast.  Forms are also available at Melody’s office window at church (Melody is our new church administrative assistant/receptionist).  You can also alert Deacon Heather to your estimate of giving for next year by sending her an email at heather@bethlehemluth.org, you can call her at 630-584-2199, ext. 222, or you can text your gift intent to her cell at 630-339-7164.

 

Roof/Mechanical Project

  • Last month the Council authorized Deacon Heather to retain the services of an architectural firm to explore roof repair options following storm damage in August.
  • The Council approved a contract with JNKA Architects to provide architectural services related to reroofing the existing sloped roofs and replacing the 1990’s mechanical system. JNKA was involved in the church remodeling project completed last year.  The existing sloped roofs and mechanical system are in need of replacement.

 

Staff Bonuses

  • For the past several years a line item has been included in the budget to provide a one-time, monetary bonus for staff members who, in the judgement of our rostered staff, have provided exceptional service to our congregation. Our staff has risen to the challenge of the pandemic.  As a sign of our gratitude and commendation for their efforts, the following staff members are being provided a bonus:  Pong Sayasane, Jesus Alanis, Pastor Jean Duran, Amy Martin, Leslie Blount, Chris Johnson and Nelly Trejo.

 

Bethlehem Preschool Update

  • Due to rising COVID-19 infection rates it has become increasingly difficult to maintain adequate staffing levels at the preschool. This may necessitate making adjustments to the half-day preschool program.
  • Preschool staff are now exploring a number of programmatic options related to the half-day program which will be shared soon with parents.