Following the exuberant Congregational Meeting to call Reverend Brett, the Board got down to business and held a Finance Forum on Sunday, February 13th. The goal was to connect with ERUUFians about where we are financially, how we have both thrived and struggled in the face of many challenges, and to discuss how to move into the vision of possibilities that lay before us. What does it look like to move out of this pandemic-era contraction and into a time of growth? Slides from the presentation are available by clicking this link, and we encourage all members and friends to review them.

The major points discussed included:

We are deeply grateful to report that pledge income has remained solid throughout the last two years, with only a 7% decline. However, ERUUF relies heavily on rental income and fundraisers; these are down by over 50% compared to two years ago. Rental income is starting to come back slowly and in a limited fashion as we navigate this next stage of the pandemic.

Expenses have been lower than budget with a large portion of the savings arising from the unfilled Music Director position and other staffing changes. These staffing needs will come back as we move back toward normal operations.

For the past three budget cycles, income has not been sufficient to maintain staffing and programming. And while we remain a Fair Compensation employer under the UUA guidelines, we have not been able to provide the targeted level of cost-of-living or merit increases that our staff deserve. Addressing these human capital needs must be a priority moving forward.

Balancing the budget
ERUUF maintains reserve funds for campus needs, budget/cash-flow contingency and strategic initiatives. These reserves are funded by the generous gifts of our members and friends. Since exhausting the PPP loan in 2020, ERUUF has been relying on our Strategic Initiatives reserve as a source of additional funding for the budget. By the end of this program year, we project total transfers of $110K from the fund ($30K in 2021 and $90K in 2022).

In the current economic environment of high inflation, rising healthcare costs, and rising wages across the country, we’ll need to generate more income just to maintain the status quo. But we have a vision to realize!

We’re excited to see how we can work together to create a robust financial foundation so that we may Embrace Boldly Our Vision - the theme for this year’s Stewardship Campaign. As that campaign gets underway, the Board encourages all our members to consider these points as you discern what pledge is possible for this year. Many on the Board have already increased their pledge and we encourage those who are able to do so as well. This is an exciting time in the life of ERUUF and we look forward to living into a future of possibility.