Council Update 2020.08

Dirk

The council continues to discuss the staffing future for Zion as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on and doesn’t appear to be weakening anytime soon. A new two pastor model with a full-time youth director and two 30 hour per week coordinator positions in the Children, Youth and Family ministry was introduced at the council’s July meeting and a possible organizational chart appeared in last month’s newsletter. The council gave approval to hire the two coordinator positions which basically consolidates the duties of three coordinators into two with increased hours. Additionally, pastor Suzi has expressed interest in turning the day-to-day duties of the youth ministry program over to a youth director and taking on more congregational life responsibilities. This would mean the discontinuing of the Call committee and concentrating efforts on hiring a youth director.

A few congregational members have provided feedback that the Call Committee should determine who fills the Pastor of Congregational Life position. However, a review of the constitution states in Chapter 9,
“When a pastor is called to serve in company with another pastor or pastors, the privileges and responsibilities of each pastor shall be specified in documents to accompany the call and to be drafted in consultation involving the pastors, the Congregation Council, and the bishop of the synod. As occasion requires, the documents may be revised through a similar consultation.”

It also states in the bylaws that all duties and responsibilities of committees and taskforces shall be assigned by the council and all actions of the committees and taskforces shall be subject to review by the congregational council.

The council continues to seek input and discussion from the congregation on discontinuing expanding our ministry with a third pastor. Currently, the decision by the council on the new staffing model will be made at the council’s September 16th meeting. Comments may be submitted to the entire council by sending an email to council@zionbuffalo.org, or members may speak to any council member.

All $120,900 received from the Payroll Protection Program loan has been spent on authorized expenses. We are now starting the forgiveness application for the loan and initial indications appears that the entire amount would qualify for forgiveness. Additionally, discussions in Washington DC indicate the new COVID-19 economic stimulus package may include automatic forgiveness of loans less than $150,000. Although the current stimulus package has a 60-day requirement for the bank to forward the forgiveness application to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the SBA has 90 days to make a determination as to the forgiveness amount, discussions with Old National Bank indicate that we will not know the exact amount of forgiveness anytime soon and possibility not until next year.

Also, it appears that Zion qualifies for an economic stimulus grant from the City of Buffalo. Amounts for the grant would vary between $10,000 and $20,000. Applications will be received in the second half of August with a determination as to awardees and amounts in mid-September. The grant requires a report on how the money was used three months after receiving the it.

So, with the PPP loan and possible grant from the city of Buffalo, Zion continues to do well financially. However, giving is down from last year as would be expected. The economic downturn has been harder on some than others, and the Bible tells us that we should give to the church not based on what we think the church needs but what the Holy Spirit calls us to give of our resources. The work of the church is infinite, and we need every bit of money we receive, no matter its source, to share Christ’s word, strengthen faith and serve those in need.

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