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Proposed 2014 Budget Narrative

Introduction to the Proposed 2014 Budget
The church council has dreamed and prayed, negotiated, agonized, and compromised. We benefited greatly from the proposals prepared by church council leaders and our personnel committee. After going through that process, we are very excited about presenting this proposed budget to you, the congregation.

It is not our dream budget. We are a relatively small congregation (about 260 members), and we simply cannot afford to fund each ministry as fully as we would like to, but we are excited because this budget takes several bold steps toward helping us live out our vision and our mission in this place.

Music Director
One of our central concerns is hiring a new music director. Jose Zambrana will be leaving us soon, and we want to find someone who will inspire, lead, and coordinate the music at both services on Sundays and other special services, serving primarily the worship vision ministry area, but also the spiritual growth and hospitality ministry areas. Our initial dream was a full-time position paying $65,000, but we settled for a three-quarters-time position paying $50,000. We anticipate inviting the community to our worship services and jazz vespers evenings services under the music director’s leadership.

Family & Community Engagement
With the growth in families at Luther Place and the deepening of relationship with our neighbors, Church Council has proposed two staff positions for family and community engagement to help us fulfill goals within all ministry areas of the Luther Place Vision.

Director of Family Ministry

We enthusiastically endorse furthering the vision goals around families by hiring Krista Sickert-Bush as Director of Family Ministry, a new, permanent, half-time position paying $30,000. Hiring Krista would very happily match our need—we have dozens of children needing nurturing in faith through education, programs, and facilities—Krista has considerable ministry experience, has been coordinating our Sunday School program on a volunteer basis for years, and is now looking for part-time paid employment.  She was integral in the success of the ArtSmart Summer Camp and the Day of the Dead/Halloween family celebration which attracted 150 people—largely families from Luther Place & the neighborhood.

Community Family Engagement Fellow
The Church Council proposes a second—one-year fellowship position to support our neighborhood-outreach mission through engaging families in the neighborhood, with special engagement with Thomson Elementary School by giving Olga Salazar a one-year fellowship of $30,000. Olga has been working as a volunteer coordinator of parent involvement at Thomson Elementary (at 12th and L), and she also played an important leadership role in our ArtSmart Summer Camp and SoulFiesta Partnership events including the Block Party (500 people attended) and Day of the Dead/Halloween Party. She is welcoming and energetic, and has been highly successful in both roles. As Community Family Engagement Fellow, she will continue her work as coordinator of parent involvement at Thomson Elementary School and in collaboration with Krista will help us access new ministry opportunities, and encourage neighborhood families’ participation in Luther Place’s Family Ministry.

Steinbruck Center

The proposed budget continues the congregation’s traditional support of its justice and hospitality ministries in the Steinbruck Center. The Steinbruck Center Hostel Ministry will continue to be staffed by a full-time Program Coordinator and interns. We will recruit a Lutheran Volunteer Corps person to do administrative support work for both the Steinbruck Center as a whole (both Hostel & Congregational Justice Ministries) and to support the church office’s administrative needs.

N Street Village
We propose continuing to support NSV’s finances and activities in various ways: charging no interest and requiring no payment on the mortgage loan; below-market rent for the fourth-floor shelter, with no utility payments required; free use of first-floor meeting spaces; etc.

Sunday Sexton & Coffee-House Steward

Having a pleasant place to gather before and after Sunday worship services aligns with our vision goals of community care and hospitality. It has been quite difficult, however, to run our Sunday morning coffee-house with only volunteers. The volunteers have donated food and drinks generously, but it has been brought to our attention again and again that it is a lot of work to set-up and clean coffee house—often causing volunteers to stay until 2 p.m. to finish their duties. The Church Council proposes hiring someone to work on Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or so to make coffee, help put out food, wash the dishes, keep the bathrooms clean and stocked, etc. Paying this person $15 an hour would cost about $6500 a year.

Deaf Ministry
Marquita Jones has recognized the substantial language barrier to making a small number of deaf persons feel welcome in a hearing congregation. At the same time, the District, and particularly the H Street corridor, has become a focal point for American deaf culture. Marquita is working with the ELCA on establishing an outreach and relational ministry in that corridor for the deaf community. The Episcopal Church may support or co-sponsor such a ministry. We do not need to contribute more money in 2014 to support this ministry, because we have received a generous grant and will serve as the mission’s fiscal agent.

Staff Salary Adjustments
Prompted by our personnel committee, we recommend increasing the wages and salaries we pay our hard-working and gifted staff as they lead us and facilitate our engagement toward all of our vision goals. The proposed increases reflect salary levels commensurate with the education and skills of our staff and include cost-of-living adjustments. We propose boosting the wages of our Sunday-morning childcare provider and our assistant sexton from $12 to $15 an hour; raising Pastor Karen’s, Jack’s, Kristen’s, and Israel’s salaries; and giving our employees regular holiday bonuses. The largest proportional salary increase would go to Kristen in recognition of her role’s growing importance to the congregation’s vision. Additionally, the council recognizes her special gifts, efforts, and successes in welcoming new people and developing and leading new and transformed programs like the ArtSmart Summer Camp and SoulFiesta Partnership.  The Personnel Committee recommended increasing her salary by 25%, but budget realities compelled the council reluctantly to halve that recommendation.

Building Repairs
Long-time member Catherine Rinker gave Luther Place a very generous bequest and wanted us to use it particularly for upkeep and renovation of our building. We propose spending $100,000 of her 2013 gift to repair and restore the first-floor and basement restrooms (especially the first-floor women’s restroom!) and to replace our broken door handles and a few of our external doors.

Paying for All This Now and in the Future
We propose to pay for these ministries by increasing our congregational giving by three percent and by taking money from several bequests and special-purpose funds: liquidating the Gooding fund (about $61,000); $45,000 from the new Rinker bequest; and $20,000 from the music endowment.

We cannot deplete our reserves to this extent on a regular basis. In planning for 2015 and beyond, we propose doing the following: The Church Council will develop criteria and metrics to assess these new programs and ministries; we will invite others to engage Luther Place Ministries & Worship with us and join our congregation; we will invite members who can to increase their regular giving after they have fulfilled their commitments to the Capital Campaign; and we will seek grants and other outside funding where appropriate.

We hope you share our excitement about these new opportunities. Please talk with any council members if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions!

LUTHER PLACE CHURCH COUNCIL

President Brad Eayrs
Vice President Paul Ramshaw
Secretary Hierald Kane-Osorto
Treasurer Bill Sickert-Bush

Michael Anderson
Susan Boyle
Caroline Crouch
Jackson Droney
Scott Kofmehl
Nick Krafft
Andrew McIlroy
Nicole Newman
Lolly Stuart
Elaine Webber

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