At the annual meeting in May, members of People’s Church approved a budget that brought us closer to living within our means as a congregation. This included some painful cuts in staff positions and staff time.
In the days following that meeting, a few People’s people approached me, wanting to increase their pledges in order to restore the hours cut from the database manager position. (That’s Dana Kubinski’s job.) According to our policies, the board needs to approve all directed donations. I brought this generous offer to the board and they quickly approved it.
At the June meeting, the board had a more general conversation about directed donations, naming both our gratitude for people’s generosity—an concern for the precedent this sets. We talked about how, if directed donations grow in frequency and amount at People’s Church, it would undermine our democratic principles. If directed donations become a significant portion of the giving at People’s Church, members with means could radically rewrite the budget the congregation as a whole approves, funding the ministries, programs and staff positions that most appeal to them personally.
Thus far in my ministry with you all, directed donations have been small, no more than two percent of the congregation’s budget each year. The board has discussed and approved this directed donation, as well as directed donations to buy a new lawnmower and support the music program. Directed donations are part of our life together—and we are grateful to the people who increase their giving to the church to fund specific needs. The board has committed to move forward balancing our many values (including the democratic process and welcoming generosity) as they best serve People’s Church and its mission.
I am writing about this at request of the board and in service to another important value—transparency. We want everyone in the church who is interested to know about the discussions and decisions your leadership is making. If you would like to talk about directed donations—or any other important part of our life together, please reach out to me and set up an appointment. You are also welcome to contact the board of People’s Church: Tim Bartik (newly re-elected president), Zoë Valette (vice president), Stephanie Measzros (secretary), Elizabeth Warner, Don Miller, Mark Gernsback, Sharon Caron, Beth Bullmer, and Cary Betz-Williams.
See you in church,