This month I want to let you know about a few of the new initiatives the Board is involved with. You may already know something about some of them, but others may be new to you.
You are almost certainly aware of our efforts to create a Stewardship Committee as a new standing committee of the church. This team will be charged with fostering an even greater spirit of gratitude and generosity among the congregation in regard to volunteer effort as well as finances. They will focus year-round on opportunities to increase the richness of our church. President-elect Gillian Hunt has almost completed a charter for the committee and will soon be recruiting members. If you have talents that you would like to apply as a member of this very important new committee, please let someone on the Board know, and if you are asked to serve, please give careful consideration to saying, “Yes.”
You probably already know that we have initiated an online payment capability. You can now pay your pledge or make any other contribution to the church electronically. You can even set up an automatic payment for your pledge so you don't have to think about it again until the new church year next July. This new capability accepts both credit card payments and bank account transfers. (You may have seen the credit card payment option in action at the recent church auction.) Westside is charged $0.45 for each transaction, plus 1.0% of the amount for bank transfers or 2.75% of the amount for credit card payments. So, if you use these services, please consider increasing your contributions just a tad to cover these charges.
The Board has been talking lately about undertaking a campaign to reduce or eliminate the mortgage on our building. Feedback from the the recent potluck Congregational Conversation showed widespread support for this idea. Our current church budget includes payment of $11,176 toward our mortgage. That's almost 8% of our total budget. If you remember, we had to project transferring $11,500 from our reserve fund (the Fund for the Future) in order to balance the budget for this year. This will almost exhaust that reserve. So, eliminating the mortgage would bring us very close to balancing future budgets based solely on our expected annual income. That would be a great step toward a strong financial future for Westside! We'll be coming back to you soon with a campaign to cut away at the mortgage.
On another front, we are looking into installing security cameras at the church. Many of you recommended this step after the recent vandalism at the church, and the Board is also strongly in favor. A crack ad hoc team is looking at issues like how many cameras we would need, whether they should be wired-in or wireless, what other equipment is needed to support and record the cameras, and how to minimize the expense, among other things. The team is working hard to come up with the best solution. Please give a “Thank You” to the following Westsiders for their hard work on this: Mike Fisher, Dave Goforth, Brad Kurtz, Jerry Thornton, and William Wallace.
There are several other initiatives in development that we hope to report on soon, and some of these are the products of very hard work by members and committees. It's an exciting year for Westside, so stay tuned for further details.