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Halftime Letter: January-June 2020

July 6, 2020 | Gregg Caruso


Dear CCC,

It’s hard to believe that summer is already upon us. I hope we all get a chance to get out and about after months of sheltering at home! You can think of this letter as a “CCC Halftime Report.” I am following up on a video update from the week of June 22nd. (If you didn’t catch that you can view it here.) My primary reason for the Halftime Report is to update you on our finances through midyear.

My first point is to say a warmhearted thank you for your generosity! As we reconsider and seek to reaffirm our core practiced values as a church, I’m wondering if generosity should be identified as one of those? We have a history of gracious and sacrificial generosity. One very practical way I have seen this realized is that when I first arrived in September, we had some underpaid staff. Thanks to both budgetary considerations as well as some special offerings we are much closer to the appropriate salary ranges for a church our size. There has also been robust generosity in helping to pay for staff continuing education, missions work in Haiti and Liberia, and additional significant benevolence expenditures. So again, thank you for your generosity.

I am very grateful for the work of our Financial Advisory Board (FAB). We desire and seek their counsel to make the best use of our resources, set up consistent and transparent financial systems, policies and procedures, as well as develop creative ways to teach and train our covenant community of believers in biblical financial stewardship.

One thing I would mention is that considering the size of our church, our annual general budget of approximately $600,000.00 is comparatively low. Based on my experience, this tells me that our generosity for special needs is greater than our generosity in consistent giving. Our CCC theology of stewardship distinguishes between a tithe (meaning 10%) and offerings. In a nutshell, we understand Scripture to say that a tithe of our income goes to the “storehouse” (Malachi 3:10) and offerings are above and beyond that. In contemporary language, the storehouse would be the general budget of the church God has called us to be a part of. We have a Position Paper that unpacks our theological understanding of financial stewardship. If you’d like to see that, please let our office know and we’ll send that out to you. Also, any of our Elders, Pastoral Staff, or FAB would also be happy to speak with you about this as well.

So, how are we doing financially in 2020? I’m glad you asked!

General Budget: For the six months ending June 30, our general budget donations totaled $299,326.14. This represents a 5.5% increase over the $283,669.78 you gave during the comparable period last year. It brings me joy to say that there has been no drop off since the pandemic began. This is awesome news—so again, thank you!

Our operating expenses for the first six months look like they will come in at about $285,000.00. For the first three months of the year expenses were approximately $50,000.00 monthly, but with some of the efficiencies we have implemented, and our lower building and food costs from not gathering at our facility, the most recent three months have been under $45,000.00.

On April 21, we received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of $64,582.00 through Webster Bank and the Small Business Administration. It is designed to help small business employers continue to pay their employees and overhead during the pandemic lockdown. Depending on several payroll and overhead expense factors, most or all of this loan can be forgiven, and our expectation is that at least 75% of ours will be.

As a result of the loan and a modest cash surplus, our general operating account has grown to over $170,000.00. At our Vision Sunday in January, Rob McDonald spoke about the FAB’s desire to fund a Reserve Account for emergencies and capital improvements, with a goal of 3-6 months of normal expenses for full funding. If we succeed in getting the PPP loan substantially forgiven, we will have achieved the 3-month threshold!

Missions: The January 2020 balance in our Missions Fund was $12,092.05, which included $3,000 earmarked for a special project in Liberia. A special donation of $50,000 for that project was received in January, and the $53,000 was immediately disbursed. An additional $3,965.00 has been received through June 30, so the Missions Fund balance stands at $13,057.05

Benevolence: In anticipation of households being affected by the economic downturn we began to break out benevolence in a separate account in April and $3,021.45 has been donated through June 30th.

Mortgage: Our mortgage just dropped below the $400,000 milestone.

Capital Expenses: Marcel and I have made a list of capital improvements that will be needed soon. The FAB, Elders, and Staff will all have input in deciding priority and timing. Conservatively, the list amounts to a few hundred thousand dollars in expenditures. And FYI, we recently installed a new HVAC system for the downstairs CM spaces at a cost of $4,400, which will be much more efficient than the original.

Special Funds:  These tend to require some privacy, but over $33,000.00 has been donated to address four separate areas of special needs, with approximately $25,000 of that distributed to date.

One of the reasons for this Halftime Report, in addition to ongoing transparent communication, is to invite you to pray for all the aspects of our finances. We see God as our ultimate Provider, so let’s ask Him for His continued provision – for our good and His glory.

You will notice a “halftime” giving statement attached to this update. I hope you will use it to review your giving for 2020 and I will humbly remind you that there are three ways to give: 1) Online, 2) Text any amount to 84321 and fill out a quick one-time simple form, or 3) Mail checks to 615 Tremont St Rehoboth MA 02769.

If you need to catch-up on your giving, please consider doing so. Also, if you’d like to give a special offering to any of the categories listed above, please keep in mind that only General, Benevolence, and Missions are listed on the drop-down menu on our website. To give a special offering toward Mortgage or Capital Expenditures it would need to be in check form. 

Again, thank you for your generosity. And finally, my prayer as we work our way through the “Deeper Still” mini-series on prayer is that you and I and our whole church would, by God’s grace and mercy, move from ordinary prayer to extraordinary prayer.

It is a joy for me to serve as your Intentional Interim Lead Pastor.

Grace & Peace to you,

Pastor Gregg

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