As you all know, we are nearing the end of our canvass campaign for the year. This is the season when we ask members and friends of Westside to pledge their financial support for the church for the coming year. These pledges will allow the Finance Committee and the Board of Trustees to develop a proposed final budget for next year. On May 20, we will present that budget at a Congregational Meeting, where members will be able to change it if needed and then make the budget official by voting to adopt it. As you can see, a key determinant of the budget is how much money members and friends pledge to give to the church over the next year.
Many thanks to all of you who have already made your pledges. It is clear that you have made a real effort to be generous. And to those who haven't pledged yet, you still have a week to do so. Please find time to fill out your pledge card and turn it in so we can plan for the best for next year at Westside.
As I am sure you know already, next year's budget will be leaner than we have been used to. For the past few years we have been drawing from our reserve fund to pay for the level of activities that we all wanted. Our hope was that having those extra activities would lead to increased revenue. But that hasn't happened yet, and our reserve fund is pretty much exhausted. So we are going to have to start living within our means; we are going to have to start being mindful of our sustainability.
Based on input the you gave us at recent Congregational Conversations, the draft budget we presented in March proposed several measures to move us toward sustainability. We proposed eliminating funding for the Music Director. We proposed reducing the hours for the Director of Religious Education. And Reverend Carol asked us to rescind, for next year, the raise we voted to give her last year. We've continued to look for other ways to live more economically, more sustainably. But every one of these cuts is painful, and we do not want to make them.
The final outcome of the canvass is yet to be seen. But the Board and the Finance Committee are confident that we will be able to come up with a budget that sets Westside on the road to sustainability and still funds all the core programs and activities that make us such a special place. We fully recognize that our church is not a business, that the important things here are not money but the fellowship, support, learning, growth, and love that keeps all of us showing up on Sunday mornings and at other times. But, unfortunately, it takes money to make all of that happen.
Great thanks to every one of you for ALL the things you do to make Westside special and valuable!