Finance Team Starts Anew

by Jim Sanders, Interim Chair, Finance Committee

The finance team has reconvened with two returning members of last year’s team, Barbara Drew (Auction Team) and John Unger (At-large), and a fresh and energized group including: Scott Blaydon and Jane Root (Stewardship), Mike Hanson and Bonnie Gilbert (Endowment), George Faulkner (Capital Project Treasurer), Denny Rodgers (UUCWC Treasurer and Board Liaison), Sandee Steinberg and Nathalie Edmond (At-large members), and Jim Sanders as a one-year interim chairperson.

What is the same and what is new?

We continue to review and monitor the church’s operating budget and make recommendations to the board for adjustments or items to watch, implement policies and procedures from the previous year, and formulate the budget, among other roles.

BUT, this year, we are looking at expanding our roles in a NEW way.

Since our membership on the team is made up of the chairs of other teams, we are mindful that our team members already have their own roles in their own teams. Therefore, we gather to provide resources to each other, to share insights, to share needs and frustrations, and to coordinate communications.

Along with our team of At-large members who can move in and out of tasks or projects based on their interests and talents, we are working together and removing silos.

Highlights of our team work so far:

  • We held a retreat in July to get to know each other and our needs and to create a calendar of activity for the entire church year.
  • We’ve received training in interpreting financial statements.
  • We are creating a stewardship program that includes education and year-round communications, including conversation about creating an umbrella fundraising theme for the church year.
  • We’ve had training on Google Drive and collaboration tools that are available to us.
  • We’re working to assist each team to set goals for the new year, take a monthly pulse-check, and ask – what do we need?

But wait! Don’t we talk about “finances”?

Yes, we do, but the discussion accounts for 20% or less of our meeting time (an hour to an hour and a quarter). That is the amount of time that we discuss “line-item finances.” It’s not that the income and expenses of the church are not of importance. We’ve been able to review and act upon the numbers and trends each month (two months to date), with clean reports from our Controller, Lynne Quinto, and review by our Treasurer, Denny Rodgers, and myself, and present to the team trends and any sticking points.

So, without any specific numbers, here are some trends to share:

We ended the last fiscal year with a surplus that included a plate income 11% greater than budgeted, pledge income ending at 99% of budget (something to celebrate!), and almost $7,000 in interest income (after moving funds into Merrill Lynch MM account(s) and receiving the generous estate gifts of a member). In addition, staff expenses were lower due to reduced hours and medical insurance moving to Medicare. There were also modest savings in facility usage and utilities.

For the current budget year (July-August 2023), our pledge income and plate collections remain strong and on-target. It is too early to make any predictions, but the summer has been stronger than some past years in income – keep it up!

Does this sound like a team you’d like to work/play with?
Let me know at

In faith and service,
Jim Sanders, Interim Chair