Keeping a watchful eye on the church finances is the very professional finance committee, a standing committee that includes the elected church treasurer, elected assistant treasurer and other volunteers with experience in fiscal management or accounting.
This is the committee that actually puts the church budget together. It receives requests from the various church activities with estimates of revenues from the every member canvass and from other sources and then prepares a proposed base operating budget for the next fiscal year. The elected Board of Stewards reviews that budget and perhaps alters it before it goes to the entire congregation for approval or revision at the Annual Meeting. There it is given a hard look by all members of the congregation who care to participate – and many do – before it becomes the financial framework for the next year’s activities.
But the church budget is not static. This committee constantly monitor’s the church’s financial health as reflected in the financial reports prepared by the church’s financial secretary, a member of the church staff. This monitoring includes periodic review of church investments with the goal of achieving reasonable returns while maintaining a low risk. At its monthly meetings, the committee considers and makes recommendations on any financial issues that may arise. The finance committee also schedules periodic external audits of church finances.
As anywhere else, in a church the electric bill and the phone bill must be paid in addition to support for the programs that we all want. But First Unitarian Universalist is most fortunate to have members with the skills and the commitment to spend our congregants’ money as efficiently and productively as possible.