December 9, 2015
Dear Annual Conference,
As you may remember a motion was made and approved by the 2015 Annual Conference asking “CFA, the Discipleship Leadership Council and the Bishop together with the Cabinet to provide quarterly updates to all lay and clergy members of the annual conference regarding any strategy to change apportionment funding priorities; and all ministries that would be impacted by a strategy to decrease or remove apportionment support shall be included in deliberations about the strategy and its implications.”
During the creation of the 2016 budget, agencies were asked to consider further expansion of funding streams beyond apportionment dollars. Health and Welfare Ministries, Camp and Retreat Ministries, and the Board of Higher Education and Student Ministries were strongly encouraged to reflect upon their current means of funding and to work more towards new ways of providing for the future. CFA recognizes that financial resources from apportionments stay about the same or become less each year, and yet the desire to share in ministry becomes greater. There are not enough apportionment dollars to fund all the ministries and services we would like to. In the last decade, the conference spending plan has in some years had to be reduced in the last months of the year because of shortfalls in apportionment receipts, greatly hindering the ministries who were counting on receiving one hundred percent of their allocated funds. It is hoped that by increasing revenue streams and decreasing apportionment dependence, that will mean that funding is more dependable for all conference agencies.
CFA recognizes that our agencies are not equipped to immediately begin writing grant proposals or organize a capital campaign (among the many possibilities). CFA is also not able to figure out the new funding sources for you. CFA would like to be your partner in discerning a future strategy. We can help connect you with resources. One of the resources discussed last spring at a gathering attended by members of conference agencies and our Health and Welfare ministries was a conference-wide Development Director. Jean Nicholas was appointed to this position in July.
There are two other examples of how this strategic thinking is already in action by two of our agencies. University Christian Ministries (UCM) in Milwaukee applied for and obtained a grant to support part of their campus ministry. The grant was actually made to the Conference, which made it possible and easier for UCM to obtain the grant. The Board of Higher Education and Student Ministries is providing programmatic oversight and the Conference Finance Office is providing financial oversight. This is a great example of the type of support the Conference can provide to these various ministries as they work to find other funding sources for their ministries.
The Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries has also taken proactive steps towards thinking strategically about their funding streams. Sharon Cook, Coordinator of Camp, Retreat, and Age-Level Ministries, is pursuing a certificate in religious fundraising on behalf of the board. The board is also working to better identify and track all financial support to the camps through their system.
Please know we have not forgotten this motion or intentionally not sent out quarterly updates. CFA did not meet between July and their meeting on November 21, 2015. CFA is just beginning the budget process for 2017. Now is the time CFA reflects upon the financial strategies for our conference. The budgeting process includes asking each conference agency to submit a Plan for Ministry and a self-evaluation form. CFA will meet on February 13 to discuss Plans and identify the bottom line dollar amount for the 2017 budget (based partially on apportionment receipts in 2015). The program agencies will discuss their budget lines during a February 20 meeting of the Disciple Leadership Council. The Cabinet will then review and offer their suggestions on the proposed budget to CFA. CFA will then meet on March 12, 2016, to approve the budget to be voted on by the Annual Conference in June 2016.
CFA welcomes feedback. Please contact Lisa King, Conference Treasurer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 837-7320 or (888) 649-9025 or Carrie Kreps Wegenast, chairperson, at email@example.com or (262) 370-2889.
Please look for another quarterly communication after the March 12, 2016, CFA budget meeting. Before then, be in touch. This is our conference budget.
Carrie Kreps Wegenast