As the first quarter of 2021 came to a close, our business office team led by Steve Fagan, Director of Finance, has mostly good news and a few other interesting things to report.
First, the FUMCFW Finance Committee announces that our 2021 budget is balanced and approved for our upcoming year of ministry. This is, of course, based on predicted giving. “It’s balanced,” Steve is quick to add, “but that’s faith-based balancing, based on predicted giving that hasn’t come in yet, so once again this year it’s going to be very important to maintain our commitment to giving as we return to more in-person activities.”
Steve says that although our January and February giving was a little bit slow, our March giving beat last year’s March giving by $38,783, putting us within 1% of our budget for the first quarter.
“Another interesting point this quarter,” Steve continues, “is that many of the honorariums and memorial donations received year-to-date have come from non-members who have never donated before. And, in addition to this new area of giving,” he adds, “many members who were previously marked as inactive are now giving and showing back up in our attendance reports as active members.”
Overall, this activity puts us at about $33,000 behind budget for the first quarter of 2021, which Steve says is pretty good considering we’re still mostly online, and in-person attendance is still limited due to COVID-19 protocols. Steve says, “With March’s strong giving, Easter giving, and overall optimism about returning to in-person worship, I’m feeling confident about the next few months.”
Steve also reports that right now the Easter offering is about $10,000 more than we raised last year, so that will really help fund our outreach ministries for this year.
Looking at April, Steve says that our “plate offering” — which he describes loose cash that is deposited each Sunday in our locked black offering boxes in the Sanctuary — continues to grow and we’ve already received more than half of our April plate offering budget. Plus, the number of people with recurring online donations has gone up over the past year.
Emphasizing and reminding that giving is an important aspect of faithful discipleship that empowers all our ministries to accomplish their mission, Steve says it’s important that we all continue to frame our giving as part of our individual ministry. “We have great pastors on our staff, but when it comes to giving, we are all in ministry,” he assures, “We experience God’s grace while we give to ministries that help others experience God’s grace.”