Hello and welcome to 2021. As I write this, the sun is shining through the garden window—a blessing on this chilly morning. The 2021 Board of Stewards met on Saturday, Jan. 23, for our annual orientation retreat and again for our first regular BOS meeting of the year on Thursday, Jan. 28. We welcomed Dan St. Romain, Scott Boynton, and David Kinder to the Board.
The retreat was extraordinarily successful. It was our opportunity to get to know each other and to learn the various roles of the Board members. We congratulated Carr Hornbuckle on his election as the new Chair of the Trustee Committee. The event was hybrid as we had Donna Strieb and Andrew Matajasko on Zoom, with the rest of us gathering in the CLC following all safety protocols.
The most exciting part of the retreat was the creation of a new AHUMC Statement of Purpose. We created the AHUMC identity statement at last year’s retreat: “Alamo Heights UMC is a Christian community of love, hope and belonging for all.” We discussed the current Mission Statement and decided to move to a Statement of Purpose that worked with the Identity Statement in a more holistic vision. We then created the following for AHUMC:
Welcome all people
Share God’s love
Serve the world
The first action of Thursday’s board meeting was to approve this as the AHUMC Statement of Purpose, which will help guide our church over the next three to five years as we seek to be faithful to God’s call on the life of our church.
We then reviewed the financials for December and the year-end. Valerie and her team have done a remarkable job guiding us through the challenges of the year. We were blessed to participate in the federal Payroll Protection Plan. We also received wonderful support from the AHUMC Foundation. These, along with conservative management of expenses and your outstanding giving, enabled us to finish the year with a positive financial performance statement. We can start 2021 with a financial cushion of $109,000. The renewed federal assistance will not be an option for us in 2021. However, the Foundation will continue its generous support during the year. We do know 2021 will be another challenging year for us.
Bill Balthrope gave us a report of the January Foundation meeting and briefed the Board on the state of the Foundation. The Board reaffirmed the Foundation’s purpose to support the work of the church. Its current balance is $6.1 million, which is a $600,000 increase over December 2019. The emphasis of the plans for the coming and future years will be to be more proactive in development, focusing on planned or end of life gifts. The Foundation Board will be communicating their plans to the congregation.
Pastor Matt provided us with an update of the Trustee Committee and the Building Reopening Task Force. Besides the election of Carr as the committee chair, the Board received a report from Kacey Brewer on the accessibility audit for the church campus. Kacey and the staff are working on correcting identified areas. Kacey also provided an update on the audio-visual project. Those in the sanctuary and those viewing online are enjoying the results of this project. The final phases of the project are digital classroom upgrades to the Seminar Room, Handbell Room, and Map Room.
The Task Force continues to meet weekly to review the status of programming and any proposed changes. We look forward to the return of children’s and youth Sunday school programs this Sunday. As with every step, we continue to ask everyone to follow the protocols of mask-wearing and social distancing, as well as worshipping online if in an at-risk group. Ryan Kuecks and Kacey Brewer have done such a marvelous job supervising the completion of the digital upgrades.
I thank all the Board members for their service to the Board and the congregation. We are blessed with the caliber and commitment these folks are bringing.
Kathryn “Kitty” Meyers