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Heard It at Council (Dec. 2012)

December 11, 2012

Council members had a great deal to discuss on their last meeting of 2012. The meeting began with an update on the proposed sale of certain heritage assets.  Before proceeding with the sale, the Trustees, in consultation with the Church Council, will work with the Attorney General’s Office, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Boston Public Library, and interview a variety of auction houses.

Stewardship Chair Kurt Gaertner had positive news to report. The amount of money in pledges received as of December 11, 2012 is higher than the amount we had received by the same date last year. The average pledge amount per household is also quite a bit higher than it was at this time in 2011. Moderator Mark Schueppert pointed out that this is amazing news considering the number of transitions that the Church has seen in the past year. More impressively, the report from the Stewardship Committee showed that congregational giving is nearly double what it was in 2006.

Council members then turned their attention to the considerable financial challenges that Old South Church currently faces. The sale of the heritage assets will not have a positive impact on the budget for 2013 and 2014, and consequently, the Finance Committee is projecting an operating deficit of about $135,000 for this year. This deficit is projected to occur despite cuts in spending on music, communications, and refreshments for the coming year. Finance Committee Chair Bill Adams proposed that surplus money from 2010 be used to cover the deficit. Trustee David Vogan moved that Council ask the Trustees to approve the use of 2010 surplus funds to cover the gap in the 2013 budget. Council unanimously approved this motion. For the coming year, Council will need to discuss ways of addressing the budget deficit that is projected for 2014.

On a happier note, Karen Hand reported on the status of the two candidates the Search Committee is proposing to serve as Associate Ministers at Old South Church: John Edgerton and Anthony Livolsi. On Saturday, January 12, an “Open House” will give members of our community an opportunity to become acquainted with John and Anthony. John will lead Jazz Worship on Thursday, January 10, and Anthony will lead First Worship on Sunday, January 13. After First Worship, there will be a Q & A period. Both candidates will lead Festival Worship, also on Sunday, January 13. A congregational vote will follow Festival Worship. All members are encouraged to attend these events in preparation for the vote on Sunday, January 13.

With that good news, Council closed the meeting with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.

-Kate Silfen, Clerk