Over the past several months, Congregation Council has been hard at work to help St. Mark’s start 2023 in a positive way, with hope and anticipation for what the new year may bring. The transition from one year to the next requires a great deal of deliberative work, intense discussion and informed decision making as we prepare for the Annual Meeting in January. Some highlights of Council’s actions include:
- Developing the 2023 budget using sound financial data to project revenue, and anticipating the continued impact of historically high inflation to estimate costs
- Conducting three Budget Forum sessions to allow members an opportunity to learn and ask questions about the budget that would be presented at the Annual Meeting
- Including expenses related to a part-time pastor (Interim or Called) in the budget model
- Decision to fund Synod benevolence from church reserve funds at a more modest rate rather than add to a likely budget deficit
- Development of internal budget guidelines to limit operational budget deficits over time
- Planning the agenda for the Annual Meeting and communicating details to members
- Taking initial steps in preparation for the Call process for a Senior Pastor, including the collection and preliminary review of nominations for the Call Committee
Congregational Committees have also been busy preparing and implementing new and revised initiatives for 2023.
- Education Hour has returned on Sundays at 9:00 with a new curriculum, Animate, by Augsburg Fortress, that inspires thoughtful dialogue around weekly topics. Members are welcome to attend Education Hour for a single session or the entire series. Please check the Friday email or contact Lynnette Brent for more information.
- The Stewardship Committee has made a commitment to be more active and visible in 2023 by engaging the Congregation in discussion around the topics of stewardship and benevolence, creating a “Stewardship Calendar,” and doing a better job or tracking and recording all of the fundraising activity, special collections and volunteer hours served throughout the year to provide members with a more complete picture of our collective acts of benevolence.
- The ESSE Team continues to promote ESSE’s services at St. Mark’s to local stakeholders to help grow that ministry through client referrals.
We celebrate the addition of Mary Mandel to Congregation Council, and we know she will immediately contribute new energy to the work in front of us. We are also grateful for the continued service of Lynnette Brent, Rob Creaney, Matt Greising, and Randy Steinheimer, who were elected to another two-year term at the Annual Meeting.
Thank you to all those members who attended the Annual Meeting on January 29, asked questions, and participated in our leadership election process. Your thoughtful questions and comments help inform our work as a Council, and to better respond to members. We hope you continue to engage in Chat with Council opportunities in the coming weeks. Please feel free to continue to speak with any Council member attending the Welcome Desk, before or after service or at any other church function.