Bill chats with David Crossgrove, Kenilworth Union’s Treasurer, about the avenues the church’s revenue takes. David feels optimistic about church finances by virtue of the strong tradition of family giving that seems to prevail when we need funding most.

David Crossgrove, Kenilworth Union’s Treasurer

Bill: Hi friends my name is Bill Evertsberg and I’m one of the ministers at Kenilworth Union Church and this is Doogie my assistant minister. I have a couple of great guests today David Crossgrove is the church treasurer at Kenilworth Union and his assistant treasurer is a German Shorthaired Pointer named George. It was George’s seventh birthday yesterday, October 5, so wish George a happy birthday. Doogie will turn one on November 10, he’s still a squirrely puppy, so we’re going to keep them apart I hope.

David as a church treasurer you kind of had a bird’s-eye view of the church’s finances. In a thumbnail sketch can you give us a treasurer’s picture of where all the church’s money goes.

David: First there’s sort of two things to think about. There are two operating budgets at the church. There’s the operating budget for A Joyful Noise Preschool, which I think everyone understands they get their money from the tuition for the kids. Then there’s the churches operation budget which 80% of the operating budget comes from the stewardship campaign.

The campaign started a little over a week ago. So from the church’s budget about 65% of that goes toward the compensation for the staff, for the ministers, for the administrative staff, all the wonderful things that happen in front and behind the scenes of the church to make it run every day.

If you add to that the building costs, the insurance, and utilities, you get to well over 80% of the budget. We’ve got then about three or five percent for other program costs. For the music program, for the youth program, and then that leaves a portion of the annual budget.

The church is generously given toward the outreach mission which supports the 40 or so organizations that have been part of the outreach mission for many years.

Bill: Great thanks for that little thumbnail sketch. What impact has the pandemic had on the church’s finances?

David: Its had a significant impact we were very grateful to get through our fiscal year. We ended a June 30 fiscal year with a surplus which gave us a little confidence to go into the next fiscal year with a similar stewardship level. But we weren’t able to increase the stewardship level. Yet balancing increasing costs you know, for the church, whether it is desires for compensation costs or other parts of the church, we budget and operate conservatively.

We’re coming into the fiscal 21 with a balance budget but with the same stewardship levels as we’ve had in prior years. But that has forced us to cut back in some areas or at least delay some investments. Both in the levels of compensation that we’d like to provide to the staff as well as investing in some of the programs such as the music and the youth programs that we would like to have but hope to in the future.

Bill: Right, maybe you should tell the congregation what qualifies you to be the church treasurer. What do you do in your day job?

David: I’m an accountant by trade. I spent most of my career in public accounting. Most of that in big four public accounting and I’m currently the global controller of a large privately held company in the city.

Bill: Great, we’re very fortunate to have your skills and experiences. You have said that Kenilworth Union’s capital reserve resources are a little bit low for a church our size. Can you talk a little bit about that?

David: Sure, so there’s not a target level for what that capital reserve should be. There is target giving, that’s in our bylaws and policies. And to be quite honest we have not given at that level from the operating budget to the capital reserve in the past several years or at least that I’ve been a part of the business committee.

Now we’ve done that with open eyes in part because of the plans for a capital campaign which was making wonderful progress right up into the point of the pandemic crisis. Of course we put that on pause and we hope to get that revived sometime soon. We have a trustee meeting in October and I’m sure that will be a topic of conversation at the trustee meeting.

Bill: The week before last, the Sunday before last at the Annual Meeting, you described yourself as a “cheerful church treasurer,” which pleased me because it meant you were listening to my sermon. That’s where I quoted Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. Where he says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” What makes you a cheerful church treasurer right now David?

David: Well thank you for that lead in with my annual report a week or so ago. I am optimistic we, despite all that we’re going through as a church in the community and in the country, we finished the fiscal year with the surplus. That gave us some confidence to go into the fiscal 21 as I said with the similar stewardship levels.

We weren’t able to make some of the investments that we’d like to make but we’ve had some very good early feedback from the pledge campaign. As I said very good feedback from the capital campaign before we had to put that on pause.

The church just you know has a very strong tradition of family giving and they seem to come through when we need it the most. That makes me very optimistic for the year.

Bill: Great. That’s a great sort of summing up of our financial picture in five minutes. David, well done. If people want to know more about this, tell them how to do it.

David: Thank you for asking, so I do encourage people to look at the annual report. If you go back and look at Ken’s [Harris] letter to the congregation, there’s a link to the annual report. It has a very detailed business committee report. It provides our financials in a lot more detail, including a financial statement.

Of course, read the information that the stewardship committee provides, and George Wishart provides. I hope that everyone not only reads but responds and gives to the church whether it’s their time and hopefully their treasure as well.

Bill: No way for us to thank you for all you do for the church.

David: Thank you, it’s an honor and privilege to serve.

Bill: We love you and your wonderful family. God bless you all.