By Bruce Linger

I’m a glass half-full kind of person. I just find it much more enjoyable in life to look at the positives and successes. I find that it provides a pathway or illumination for the challenges and hurdles we all encounter in our lives.

We are blessed with ministers, staff, and your board of trustees at Kenilworth Union Church that shares a similar outlook, and never was this more apparent at our most recent board meeting this past Sunday, July 26.

Let me share some highlights of our agenda and discussion.

First, the budget. I’m pleased to share that we finished fiscal year-end June 30, 2020 with a modest surplus. Kudos to the ministers and staff for tightening their belts; able leadership from our business manager John Sharp; and to you, our congregation, for generously fulfilling your stewardship pledge. Due to your generosity, we’ve not been forced to cut staffing or salaries: our core talent is intact. The board and our ministers feel this is critical so that we don’t impair our mission to provide fulfilling and robust programming as we gradually look to better times.

Looking ahead, our budget for FY 2021 that’s just commenced is calling no increase in our stewardship for the year. That said, certain expenses continue to drift upward, so it’s going to be tight. Notably, it’s our ministers and staff that feel the pain, in that we’re unable to increase compensation in a manner that we’d all strongly prefer. Stewardship this fall will be critical, and under able leadership of chair George Wishart we’ll have some new twists for you to look forward to this year.

How you interact with the church has certainly changed over the last four months. While it’s logical to be saddened by the pause in fellowship, education, and programming, I hope you agree that our staff and ministers have risen to the occasion. While more about the “reopen the building” will roll out over the next month, I can say our Reopen the Building committee has rolled up their sleeves and created a viable template for us to move back to modest or selective in-person worship and fellowship. Our preschool, A Joyful Noise, with its capable parent board, has also prepared a number of scenarios depending on conditions and family wishes. It’s without saying that AJN, that depends on tuition dollars to fund its teacher salaries, will be largely impacted this fall as families debate their wishes. This again is another reason we are being thoughtful with expenditures throughout the church.

Governance was also a large topic at our July meeting. We are assembling a roster of possible candidates for both the trustee position and the board’s executive committee. We have a number of openings on both, as Herb Jordan and Leslie Holling are rolling off due to term limits, while Robert Norfleet has elected to move back to North Carolina to be closer to family. We extend our gratitude to all three for their positive contributions over the years. We are also looking to our current committee system, perhaps tweaking a few of the committees that were put in place years ago, while also considering adding a committee that reflects our communities’ focus on diversity and inclusiveness.

The last nugget I’d like to touch on is our plans for renovation of the church facilities. Yes, we obviously put these plans on pause for the time being. No decision yet has been made on timing, nor had we settled on a scope or scale of the project. Rest assured we will continue to listen to the congregation so that we are thoughtful and inclusive.

Well, that’s enough of my rambling. We are blessed and fortunate. Please reach out to me or any of your trustees with concerns or questions. We are servants of our wonderful Kenilworth Union Church.

Posted on July 30, 2020