By Theo Olson, Council President
In August the Council went to St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista for our annual retreat. This year our focus was on stewardship and CGS finances. We faced our financial reality as a community, we studied abundant giving as Paul describes in his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians, we celebrated the work God is doing through CGS as we live out our mission, and we left inspired to support our shared mission.
As a group, we dug into our finances and learned that we have an abundance in our investments. We discovered that some of the restricted funds were for ministries that we no longer carry out, so we took steps to un-restrict these monies so that we have it available for future ministry.
We did a deep dive on the budget and all our accounts so that we can understand and share with the congregation our financial reality. And with this deeper understanding, we began work on the 2020 budget, stewarding our money, keeping mission as our first priority.
We discussed our stewardship and began to look at ways in which leadership can know and understand member giving in an effort to know what is reasonable and possible as a community as we develop budgets and manage our finances. We spent time in Bible Study reflecting on abundant stewardship and learning from the Macedonians to joyfully give of our first fruits. These initial steps will help us develop a stewardship plan for our congregation in the months ahead.
Through the ELCA Treasurer's Office and other expert consultation, we are reviewing our financial processes and putting together written policies to ensure CGS is current with our fiscal management.
The Council is inspired by the way members are responding to our mission and stepping up in various leadership roles to help us learn how we serve our community. For example, learning how CGS could become a safe car park location or how to get involved in addressing the homelessness crisis. Some of us are leading book discussions and reading, Dear, Church, in preparation for our conversation with Rev. Lenny Duncan in November, which will also be an opportunity to open our doors even wider to our community for this important discussion.
These are just a few examples of the many ways in which we, the Body of Christ at CGS, are ministering to our community and one another. Thank you for all that you do in small and large ways to be God's Hands.
While we move into the budget planning season, please hold the Council in your prayers as we look to keep a balance between the mission work and ministries of CGS with our financial reality. I also encourage you to talk with the council members about your ideas on stewardship and the budget.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Christ the Good Shepherd
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