First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Live and Share God's Love


Financial Update – 2016 FINAL

Revenue   Expense
Pledged Offering
$ 227,151.00
  Salaries & Benefits
$ 231,416.31
Non-Pledged Offering
$ 56,986.15
  Programming $ 23,681.62
$ 70,099.16
  Apportionments to Conference $ 53,616.00
  Building Operating Expenses $ 45,536.87
Total Revenue
$ 354,236.31   Total Expenses $ 354,250.8
      Net YTD

$ 14.49

 YTD 2016 Pledged & Non-Pledged Offerings compared to YTD 2015       10,601.29 lower
YTD 2016 Total Expenses compared to YTD 2015       10,973.33 lower
YTD 2016 Other Income compared to YTD 2015           560.82 higher
YTD 2016 Endowment Transfer compared to 2015       32,000.00 same

Finances: Ending 2016 and Looking Ahead

Everyone who gives to the church should have some idea how their gifts are being used, and whether the organization they are supporting is responsible with those gifts and stable. In the fall, we sent out the summary breakdown of how we use the gifts we receive (the “Narrative Budget” brochure). Now let me talk about our stability.

We ended the year well. I know that looking at the monthly Financial Update on this page during the year can be stressful. There was not one month in 2016 that showed us in the black on that list. Some months showed us $30,000 in the red for the year. But December is always a big month, and you were more generous even than usual. As the last gifts from 2016 were counted, we ended up about $2,500. We try to begin each year with a zero balance (a suggestion from our auditor), but we had enough in a separate account to cover that deficit, so we didn’t have to take any extraordinary measures to level up and be able to start this year fresh.

So that is good news. In order to do this, though, we did have to use $32,000 of our Endowed Funds for operating expenses. That ended up being more than those funds earned, so our   endowment shrank again this year. We would like to reduce our dependence on those savings this year. Though we have budgeted the same amount as last year, we hope not to need to use all that is budgeted.

Which is possible. As noted in last month’s newsletter, your pledged giving for 2017 is more than $10,000 higher than the pledges for 2016. Our pledge to you is to respect that generosity by being good stewards of your gifts: both in making sure that they are used for ministry and in seeing that they are not used carelessly. Again, thank you.

Paying Off Parking Lot Principal

Once again, thank you to everyone who pledged a little extra this year to help us retire the debt that we took on in order to replace our sagging parking lot last summer. Many of you gave one-time amounts. Many others pledged a smaller amount each month. Either way, you have been generous.

On January 24, the Board of Trustees voted to send the first of, we hope, several extra payments on the loan. This month, in addition to our monthly $800.00 payment, we are sending $4,000.00 to be applied to the principal.

This payment will reduce our note by 5-6 months, and the Trustees hope to be able to make at least one more payment like this by the end of the year.

Are Pre-Paid Pledges Right for You This Year?

If you intend to itemize deductions on your 2016 taxes, one option for you is to “pre-pay” on your 2017 Pledge. You can increase your charitable giving for this tax year, and your gift will be counted on next year’s pledge at the church.  (If you’re using the Standard   Deduction in 2016, this won’t help you.)
To do this, your gift must be in the office by December 31. We cannot count gifts as having come in 2016 after we have closed the books for the year.

Budgets, Bills, and Paying Off Debt

As I write this, our budget for 2017 is not yet finalized, but we have an outline. Here it is, in principle, pending final adjustments and approval.

As our revenue continues to decrease, we have cut the budget by several thousand dollars. We have managed this in spite of increases to Pastor Jerry’s salary and health insurance,  fulfilling a pledge for an increase in Martie’s salary after her first year, and setting aside $4,600 toward making our monthly payments on the loan we took out for the Parking Lot. 
Here’s how we’re trying to deal with that. Our monthly loan payment is $800, which comes to $9,600 a year. As just noted, we have budgeted $4,600 toward those payments. We hope to pay the remaining $5,000 from funds raised separately. Through your gifts and such projects as the cookie cookbook fundraiser, we already have that $5,000 set aside. What this means is that any further pledges that you make toward the parking lot fund (that bottom line on the pledge card) can be used to pay off principal.
In the meantime, we have ground to make up in our current year. We will be transferring money from our endowed savings, as we budgeted to do, but we still have over $10,000 to make up to end the year in the black. You will be receiving one more update on your 2016 pledges and non-pledged giving in early December. If you have fallen behind on your regular giving, this mailing will help you determine exactly how much.

It is already time to begin planning our ministry focus for 2017 - how we will maintain our current ministries and what new  ideas we will try this year. It would be good to have the end-of-year financial concerns taken care of as we set about what we’re actually here to do

Creative Giving #1

The local congregation survives by means of regular giving by faithful members who set aside a part of their income to support the work and ministry of the church. Nothing will ever change that, and nothing can replace that. But that’s not to say that that’s the only way give. 
One of our members who hates carrying change and who supports the work that we’ve had done on the parking lot has begun a new practice. At the end of the day, she and her husband dump all their leftover change in a jar. When the jar gets full - or, rather, when they can’t lift it easily - they take it to the bank, cash it in, and then donate that money to the parking lot fund. It doesn’t sound as if it would be a lot, but they have already given more than $200 to this improvement fund by this means. Is this something that you could do?

Creative Giving #2

Another of our members is retired, and like some others has invested carefully and diversely over the years that he worked. As a result, he has annuities and retirement accounts in several different places. For the time being, at least, he does not need the income from all of them for his family’s regular expenses.
And so, he has worked with his financial advisors to designate the earnings from one of his accounts for us. Each quarter, we receive a check from that retirement account. And this money does not count as a taxable withdrawal. By IRS rules, charitable gifts from either traditional or Roth IRAs, so long as they are less than  $100,000, do not count as income and are non-taxable.
Before doing anything like this, you should consult your own tax and/or financial advisor to make sure that your investments qualify for this IRS exemption.

New Parking Lot! (Now, Um, How are We Paying for It?)

A few days after you receive this, work will begin on resurfacing and repairing our parking lot. It has done well for over 50 years, but it is sinking to the point that we can no longer patch it. It;s pricey, too: just under $59,000. How are we paying that much?
We actually have that much in our endowed funds, but we have intentionally chosen not to just pay for it all from there. Those funds represent stability; we do not want to treat them as a candy jar. So our Council has approved paying from a mixture of your pledges (about $6,000 - Thank You!), some endowment money ($8,000), some special funds (about $1,400), and the rest by a loan from the United Methodist Foundation ($44,000).
[By the way, the Historical Society has donated $1,000 as well, in thanks for letting them use our lot. It's nice to have good neighbors.]
Now comes the hard part. Starting next month, we have an $800/month loan payment to make. If we don't do anything special to raise that money,then it will end up being drawn from our endowed funds anyway. So we will be looking for fund-raising projects and ideas. To avoid "fund-raising fatigue," the Council would like to focus these efforts in one weekend in the fall, but we would like to make the most of that weekend. And we need volunteers to make anything work. So, a few questions. Is there anyone who would like to:
  • Organize or help plan a church-wide rummage sale?
  • Organize and/or cook food for a fund-raising dinner?
  • Something else that you can think of and want to plan?
There are also some long-term fund-raising possibilities, like running a "scrip"  program, that would require less intensive effort but more time in the long run. What can you do?

Coffee Hour Costs

It’s probably fair to call “coffee” a resource. It is on workday mornings, anyway. And on Sunday mornings, it is an integral part of our gathering time. Volunteers of our Welcome and Communications Team provide snacks, but the coffee is always just there, right?

Except it isn’t. We pay for our Fair Trade coffee from the coffee hour fund, which comes entirely from the dollars that you drop in at the coffee hour table. And more than half the time, we break even. The rest of the time, we don’t.

We aren’t out to make a profit (well, not much) but only to provide for our own community fellowship time. But if we’ll all remember to drop something in the basket - say, half what you would pay at Starbucks – this goal will be easier.


Are Pre-Paid Pledges Right for You This Year?

If you intend to itemize deductions on your 2016 taxes, one option for you is to “pre-pay” on your 2017 Pledge. You can increase your charitable giving for this tax year, and your gift will be counted on next year’s pledge at the church.  (If you’re using the Standard   Deduction in 2016, this won’t help you.)
To do this, your gift must be in the office by   December 31. We cannot count gifts as      having come in 2016 after we have closed the books for the year.

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Circuit Rider

News from our sister churches in Circuit #9 of the Wisconsin UM Conference.

Complete newsletter available in Office or download a PDF by clicking this link.

A Note from the United Methodist Foundation on IRA Charitable Rollovers

Congress has reauthorized the IRA Charitable Roll-over for 2013! This means that members of your congregation aged 70 1/2 or older, who have a Traditional or Roth IRA, can make a charitable gift from their IRA directly to your church or any other United Methodist Ministry before December 31, 2013. Their gift may qualify for their required minimum distribution and they will not have to pay federal income tax on the amount given from their IRA to charity. 
Please contact us to learn how members of your congregation can use this IRA rollover to fund your church's operating budget, contribute to a special church fund or establish a permanent endowment fund to benefit your church in perpetuity. 

Call 1-888-903-9863 today!


Creative Giving Ideas: Prepaid Pledges

Now that you have pledged to support our church next year, remember that you can give all or part of that pledge early, so as to claim the donation in tax year 2013 rather than 2014.
If this would benefit you in the current year's taxes, simply mark your check with the memo "2014 Prepaid Pledge." It will appear on your 2013 giving statement but will be counted against your financial pledge for 2014.


Creative Giving for Years to Come

Jesus always taught that we should keep money in its proper perspective, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be smart about it. In fact, we need smart money managers in the church. And we have some. At the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation. And they’re coming to us. On Monday, May 14, 2012 Rev. Jean Ehnert Nicholas presented ideas for ways we can maximize our gifts to the church:

  • Charitable Gift Annuities, by which you designate money to the church, but still receive excellent interest on that money until you die. (See inset article.)
  • Ways to give that actually are more effective than cash and checks, such as gifts of appreciated stock.
  • Processing stock gifts without paying commission, working through the WUMF.
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts.
  • And much, much more. 



    One Witness to How It Can Work in Practice


    A few years ago when the United Methodist Foundation gave a presentation to our Savvy Seniors, I decided to make an investment in my church. Though I don't have much money, I attempted to get together enough for a $10,000 annuity. I set it up so that when I die, my church will get $8,000, my next favorite charity, The Neighbors' Place would get $1,000 and the Foundation would get $1,000. When you love the church like I do, you want to leave something behind for it. It helped, when you consider that I am getting a return of 7.5% on my investment until I die. Where else can you get that much interest at this point in time? If I live long enough, I might even get my investment back. A check is sent to me twice a year for the interest. If it should happen that my savings would go for nursing care, that money would be set aside.



    I would encourage my friends to give that some consideration. My children are well aware of it and completely accept how important the church has been in my life.



    Elsie Waterman


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