2020 will be a year none of us will forget. Many of the patterns and routines we are accustomed to in the rhythm of the year have been altered, and we have adjusted or pivoted according to the needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. ECC Lafayette’s fiscal year ended June 30th, 2020. Traditionally, our congregation would have held a congregational meeting in May where we approved our operating budgeted for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that begins July 1st. As you know, we chose to not have a congregational meeting in May. The Church Council has scheduled a congregational meeting for this coming Sunday September 20th at 11:45am following the worship service. The meeting will be held in person (with social distancing) and via Zoom and our private Facebook page.
Our Church Council made the decision last spring to extend the 2019-2020 operating budget “as is” through September 30, 2020. This coming Sunday, I will present another extension. We are still in a time of uncertainty, both from a church operating standpoint and financially, and it does not seem wise to try to project a nine month budget from October 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Many of the traditional operating activities and events have not resumed, and as we cautiously open things back up, we gradually add those costs back into operations. A four month period of time between now and the end of January is a more realistic time period to predict; therefore, after working with each staff member and ministry leader, I will be presenting an adjusted four month operating cash flow projection for congregational approval. Much of what I have read recently, as well as observed best practices of other non-profits and churches, points to an operating cash flow projection as the best short-term practice for the season ahead of us. It is the hope of the pastors and the Council, that we will have a clearer picture by January 2021 and we can bring an operating budget back to the congregation for approval at the January 2021 congregation meeting for the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.
Additionally, I will give a summary report of the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year performance, the performance for the July 2020 through September 2020 budget extension period, and a snapshot of the current financial position of the church. In April of 2020, the Church Council approved application and receipt of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan for small businesses and non-profits. Many churches across the country including ECC Lafayette participated in the program, which was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. ECC was to obtain funds that supported over 9 weeks of payroll and utility costs through May and June. It is likely that the bulk of these loaned funds will be forgiven, and we will realize this as operating revenue some time later in the fiscal year. I will also give an update Sunday on the loan, the loan forgiveness process, and where ECC stands.
So, a lot has happened and is happening and there is much to cover. Please plan to join us either in person or through the Zoom link which will be provided later in the week or on our private Facebook page. We are currently not distributing paper documents for our worship services nor do we plan to do so for this congregational meeting. If you would like a digital version of the proposed Four Month Operating Cash Flow Projection that will be presented for vote or any of the other financial documents I would normally have available at the congregational meeting, please let the church office know at firstname.lastname@example.org or (765) 474–4842.