September has traditionally been a month when the church looks to begin new programs, Bible studies, and fellowship events. Summer is coming to a close and fall weather, holidays, and celebrations are quickly approaching. Although the calendar and weather may soon be changing again this year, many of our church’s programs and classes remain in a holding pattern due to lingering concerns over the virus. YET, GOD’S GRACE CONTINUES. WHAT A SURPRISE! We continue to receive Word and Sacra-ment weekly. Praise God and many thanks to all the volunteers who are His instruments in helping make this happen.
The following details several topics from the Council’s perspective:
Meetings - The Council has continued to meet monthly throughout the duration of the virus shutdown, first via Zoom and more recently in person with appropriate precautions in place. Since we have been unable to schedule a Voters’ Assembly, we are using this written format to bring you up-to-date on sever-al reports and business items.
Church Attendance – Up until last month we have been averaging a total of approximately 139 each week at the combined services. There appears to be a slight increase in that number this month. We are still not close to the average attendance before the virus hit, but it appears we are getting closer. We are most grateful as we are told that many churches are having a much slower return of worshipers. Thank you to staff, elders, ushers, altar guild, and audio-visual assistants.
Finances – Our giving remains strong. We are Blessed! Giving continues to be at or above budget while expenses are currently below budget. As a congregation we strive to be a blessing to you, to others, and to our community and beyond through the District and Synod. Thank you for helping our stewardship.
Facilities and Grounds – Thanks to all who work in maintenance and improvements. There are many volunteers who help make this happen including gardeners, lawn workers, and the Facilities Committee.
We do have a significant expense coming up in September to replace heating for the sanctuary. In addi-tion, a task force was appointed and has been hard at work looking at options to repair or replace parts of our malfunctioning church sign. More information will follow with a recommendation to the Voters for action when we meet.
Decisions and Constitutional Authority – Church Council has made two decisions during the shutdown that would normally be addressed at a Voters’ Assembly meeting. In times of emergency or when meet-ing as a congregation is not possible, the constitution gives the Council authority to take action. Actions are to be reported to the Voters at the next meeting which we hope will be sometime later in the Fall. The actions taken involve a needed budget adjustment to the Music Director’s compensation earlier in the Spring as well as authorization to use CAPEX Funds to replace the HVAC unit in the sanctuary. Details will follow for appropriate review at our next Voters’ Meeting.
Long Range Planning – Last Fall the Church Council started to gather information to begin updating the Ministry Action Plan of the congregation. We are using the resources and counsel of the Mid-South Dis-trict through their COMPASS Planning program. We have requested a visit from a District COMPASS team late in October to proceed with the next step. The team will meet with the Church Council, many members of the congregation, and others in the community while they are here. You will receive more information as well as requests for participation as the time approaches.
2021 Budget and Elections – Preliminary work on next year’s budget begins in September. In addition, we need to elect a president and treasurer for the next two-year term of office. Pray for the work of the Fi-nance Committee and Personnel Committee during this time.
Finally, a much-needed request:
Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church has many committed workers who serve not only in our church but in ministries throughout our local area. However, there is always a need for more help and we certainly have that need with our church. At this time, we have a great need for addi-tional Elders, Altar Guild helpers, Ushers for the late service, and Technology help. Once we are back on a more regular schedule, I know there is a need for Fellowship as well as someone to lead our Security team. I am sure I am leaving out other areas where help is needed. However, I want to stress that as the Body of Christ, we consist of many members with varying talents and gifts that allow the ministry to function as a whole. We are grateful for all who serve and ask all to prayerfully consider new or additional areas of ser-vice as you have been blessed.
I am sure there are other items of information that you may have questions about. Please do not hesitate to inquire with a note, a phone call, or a brief visit on Sunday morning. In the meantime, I do hope this article proves helpful to you. I am humbled to serve the congregation as Council President. Please let me or any of the Council members know how we can be of service to you as well as to help you be of service to others.
COMPASS Report from Church Council
It has been about six months since Christ Our Savior was visited by a team from the Mid-South District to review our facilities and ministry programs. Because several months have passed since we received the team’s report earlier this year, you may think that nothing has been done with the information and recommendations. That is not the case, but we apologize that we have been delayed in sharing information with you in a for-mal manner. Although much of the Council and ministry committee efforts have contin-ued to be affected by pandemic protocols and planning, work has continued in many of the areas addressed in the COMPASS report. It is the Church Council’s intent to share details of the report through summary articles through the next several monthly newsletters. We will share information regarding facilities, financing, and staffing as well as several specif-ic areas of ministry and outreach.
As you are reading this newsletter, the Council should have received a report from a group of volunteer members who have been hard at work over the past couple of months doing a thorough financial review of the past several years. We are most grateful to Pat and Karen McLarnan, Bill Rieger, and Fran Thompson for using their financial backgrounds and ex-perience to lead this effort. This is an important process not just to review past financial transactions, but also to provide recommendations for policies and procedures.