One of the more experimental parts of our life as a new church has been the administration piece. With the new Southeast Portland Parish we had to think through all sorts of issues. How was money going to be handled between the two groups? Who was responsible for the SFC house and the insurance and property taxes that go along with the house? Once we came up with a way forward that led to all sorts of other questions, such as how to incorporate a faith community. I’m learning a lot about all of these things and while we have amazing conference staff walking with us we are not their only responsibility.
Right now the plan is that Trinity UMC will open a new checking account that will be for payroll. Both SFC and Trinity will pay in to that account, Trinity at the amount they are paying for their current pastoral staff package and SFC for the rest of Amanda, Jeff and my salaries. For those super in to numbers, Trinity is paying about 36% of the total cost for the three of us, which means the rest is coming from the grant we received and the giving of SFC. This helps both faith communities to retain control of their assets and as we begin life together it is important that each side feel safe. Trinity has a large endowment and SFC has a substantial balance we are bringing in due to our frugal spending and the generous giving of our folks over the past 4 years. Once we are clear about the way forward maybe we can merge finances, but for now it is easiest for each to keep their own books.
SFC’s finances are all run through the annual conference treasurer. This means we take our offering to the AC office for them to deposit and all check requests are submitted to the finance staff. Our plan is to incorporate, so that our own lay leaders can do those jobs and take some work off the amazing conference folks. The issues right now is figuring our incorporation. We need bylaws and structure and these legal steps are totally outside my wheelhouse. The good thing is that for now we have a system that works and so can really take our time to do this well.
Being a nontraditional community means way more than just not having worship on Sunday morning. How we are structured says something about who we are and our relationships to the general church, We have worked very hard to be a community that is thoughtful in the ways we interact with the world and we will continue to be intentional in thinking through how we function.