To the congregation of Gloria Dei,
Your Church Council held its annual Retreat on Saturday, January 20, at the home of Gloria Morrison. Thank you, Gloria, for hosting!
The Retreat was facilitated by Pastor Julie, with support from our co-Presidents, Andy Meyer and Gloria Morrison. We covered a wide range of Council-related items of oversight and “business”, with special emphasis on laying the groundwork for 2024 plans and goals, as well as long-range planning. Pastor Julie led us through an overview of Council’s duties and responsibilities, as delineated in Chapter 12 of our Congregational Constitution.
Pastor Julie also delivered her monthly report to Council. We reviewed the high priority need for increased staffing for pastoral counseling, aside from the excellent work provided by our Caring Team. In addition, Gloria Dei continues its search for a Youth Director. We welcomed the news that Gemma Hickson may be able to continue to teach Confirmation online (by Zoom) for the remainder of this program year, and we discussed these logistics in detail. The South Sound Youth Group gatherings will continue, coordinated with Good Shepherd. Pastor Julie also informed us of a conversation group forming in Olympia of progressive Protestant congregations about possibilities for collaboration – she plans continued participation from Gloria Dei in this endeavor. This may lead to further opportunities for our youth ministry, among other possibilities.
We engaged in a comprehensive review of the Gloria Dei budget and finances – income and expenses, as well as programs and initiatives that are self-funded or require fundraising. Shorter-term challenges include managing the “gap” between our 2024 projected income and approved expenses ($66,000), and a large near-term unbudgeted outlay for a MUCH-needed new boiler ($73,000). Council discussed this issue and agreed to send a letter of intent to the contractor. It is anticipated this will lead to a contract, at which time Council will finalize a financial plan – a number of potential options were discussed. In regard to Gloria Dei’s financial situation, we discussed the importance of a multi-faceted stewardship plan and process with robust communication with the congregation, with a plan for Council coordination with the Stewardship Team.
Craig Adair from the Buildings and Grounds Committee provided a detailed report on the state of our facility, including the projected finances associated with major maintenance items – new modern boiler (near-term need), as well as roofing, paint, and bricks/mortar projects going into the future (including a potential unbudgeted $22,000 need for bricks/mortar as early as this year). Assuming financing and congregational approval, the plan is to procure and install the new boiler this summer (2024).
Beyond Gloria Dei’s most pressing current needs and endeavors, we spent time and focused on long-range planning, with an emphasis on the current and planned work of the Long-Range Planning Committee. With Council support and direction, it is hoped that this committee will regularly interface with the Finance Committee, Stewardship Committee, as well as Building and Grounds and all of our ministries to develop a coordinated, long-term approach and vision for Gloria Dei. Information obtained in the Transition process (congregational survey and interviews) will serve us well in providing content and prioritization.
All together, we believe that our Council Retreat was very helpful in team-building; the dissemination, organization, and understanding of highly pertinent information; and in taking “a deep dive” into many of the important issues and challenges facing Gloria Dei now, and into the future.
God’s blessings to you in 2024,
Your Church Council