Report by Darlene Simmons, Lay Member to Annual Conference.
Dear GUMC Family,
A special virtual conference of Greater New Jersey was held on January 22 at 4:00 PM. The purpose of the meeting was to adopt a revised budget and legislation to sustain the mission and support its congregation and clergy in light of a recently discovered budget shortfall. Bishop Schol explained that this shortfall in the 2021 budget has created both a financial challenge and an opportunity to refocus and organize for the future mission of GNJ.
GNJ is working diligently to meet a balanced budget and address errors that led to the shortfall. A full investigation by an independent group will be completed by March 10. This review and report will be presented at the May 21st session of Annual Conference. GNJ will reduce costs by $1 million through a hiring freeze and staff reductions by elimination of positions resulting in 16 open positions. Additional spending within GNJ will be reduced.
The revised budget and legislation were approved by the Conference. Local churches such as ours will see an increase to our Conference-subsidizes healthcare expenses and property insurance. The Conference will present new insurance programs to reduce the cost to the local church to the Annual Conference in May 2021. We and all GNJ congregations, must make every effort to pay 100% of our shared ministries and billables.
As we move forward, adjustments to our own budget will need to be addressed. While this is a challenge, we have a confident, wise and experienced finance team and church council to help us meet it. Our church has a history of working to make things happen and the generosity of our congregation is unsurpassed. We will be required to review our budget and develop a plan to meet our new billables and shared ministry expenses by March 1st. We will keep you updated as this develops.
Let’s pray for GNJ and for our finance team, church council, and congregation as we adjust to keep our mission and ministries going. As always, keep the faith and thank you for your support.
In His Service,
Lay Member to Annual Conference