FAITH—WORKS is a reminder for today and every day: “Pray daily for Faith. It is God’s Gift. It is our only requisite for accomplishment of mighty deeds. Certainly you have to work, you have to pray, but upon Faith alone depends the answer to your prayers—your works.”

Here are the first four Agenda items from the February Council Meeting that will provide a starting point for this article:

  • President to provide overview of budget process that will start approximately a week after Easter.
  • Motion to move April Council Meeting back a week to the 4th Thursday to allow additional preparation time for the meeting following Easter; review calendar for March and April 2020.
  • Review Investment Committee recommendation of reallocating approximately half of the checking account funds to an investment account.
  • Trustees Motion to pay-off Ed Building Remodel Loan with a portion of the recent gift received by the church.

These items make up just a small portion of the business conducted at the February council meeting. Each represents a jumping off point for a larger discussion on the health and direction of St. Paul Lutheran Church and Preschool for the coming year but more than that the coming decade. We have know since this past October that we have a bust in our budget of approximately $30,000. That means we will likely over spend our regular giving by this amount for the current fiscal year. But there is good news, the church has been blessed with a substantial one time gift from Elsie Borchers. More about that to follow.

Many are aware of the announcement of the closing of Concordia University in Portland, while we do not know many of the financial details associated with this decision, there is a lesson to learn and it is one most already know. Often it is easy to just go along and continue on ones current path even when there are warning signs along the road that something isn’t quite right. As Lutheran’s we have a possibly well deserved reputation of being averse to change. The last few years we have adopted deficit budgets without making significant changes to our overall spending. In our fiscal year 2017-2018 we had $36,000 in unfunded expenses. So the warning signs are there, something needs to change.

What about the good news. Anyone attending the last Voters’ Meeting is aware that we have significant financial resources many of which were given to the church as a designated gift, meaning they can only be used for the purpose given. The most recent gift from Elsie was given as an unrestricted gift. She had her funds invested in nationally know investment firm that has a local office in Tualatin. To receive the gift we were asked to open an account with that investment firm so we could receive a portion of the bonds and mutual funds that she had invested in.

So why is this important and why are you telling us about this?  St. Paul needs some additional members on our investment committee to review how we are using all of the gifts that we have received. We also need to look more closely at the investment of this most recent gift as well as what should be done with a portion of the money in our checking account that needs to be invested to earn a reasonable return as commanded by the Lord in many places including Matthew Chapter 25, Verses 14-30 in Jesus’ Parable of the Talents. We simply must do better in investing the resources we have been given and do something different with this gift other than what we have done with some of our other (gifts) investments that are barely keeping up with inflation.

The investment committee that currently consists of Karen Baldwin and myself with input from the Elders have recommended that we keep the gift from Elsie at the institution that she chose to invest her life savings at and that we engage a financial adviser with that firm to recommend funds that meet the church’s needs. It is also recommended that we move approximately half of the money that is in our checking account that is not earning anything into this same fund. Based on current cash flow needs these funds will be invested for 3-5 years, but that could change if our needs change and we find that we need the funds sooner.

We pray that all Voters earnestly pray about this opportunity and that we come together in unity around this gift and that we are able to find consensus and vote to affirm the recommendations of the investment committee at the April Voters’ Meeting that will be the last Sunday of April, April 26, 2020. Additionally the Trustees have recommended that we use a portion of the funds to retire the current loan for the Education Building Remodel. It is good stewardship to actively use the gifts that God has provided.

In His Service,

Tim Grace