Financial results for Church of the Brethren denominational ministries in 2011 include both hopeful signs and cause for concern. Positive results were seen in the Conference Office budget and in certain restricted giving. However, the Core Ministries and other self-funding ministries realized expenses in excess of income.
Total gifts received for the denominational ministries were lower in 2011 than 2010. Congregations gave a total of $3,484,100, down 14.2 percent from 2010. Total individual giving of $2,149,800 was down 30.5 percent from the previous year.
Giving to Core Ministries declined $148,200, or 4.6 percent, for a total of $3,083,200. Giving to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF), which fluctuates based on the severity of disasters, remained relatively strong at $1,811,500, but was lower than 2010 by $270,900. The Global Food Crisis Fund and Emerging Global Mission Fund both received more gifts than in 2010, totaling $318,500 and $72,900, respectively.
The primary source of funding for Core Ministries is donations from congregations and individuals. A steady decrease in donations over time continues to challenge budget and program planning. Staff were able to hold expenses below 2011 budgeted amounts, but expenses still exceeded income by $65,800.
Projections for the 2012 Core Ministries budget revealed a large gap between anticipated income and expense. In order to match the two, nine positions were eliminated as of Sept. 28, 2011. Other changes were made to reduce expenses or identify additional sources of income.
The New Windsor Conference Center (NWCC) sustained a net loss of $176,400 in 2011. Sales were slightly higher than 2010, and the loss was not as large as the previous year. However, this result increased the accumulated deficit to $689,400.
Four other ministries identified as self-funded also rely on sales of goods and services for income. Solid attendance and offerings at Annual Conference, coupled with staff efforts to curtail costs, helped the Conference Office end 2011 with income over expense of $237,200. The positive result eliminated the prior accumulated deficit.
“Messenger” magazine also ended the year in the black, with a modest income over expense of $200.
Brethren Press sustained its first loss in three years with a deficit of $68,900. Factors included decreased sales and the conclusion of a Gahagen grant that had bolstered income for a number of years.
The Material Resources program experienced increased costs in supplies and transportation that led to expense over income of $31,200.
In the midst of financial struggles, the staff and board continue to be grateful for the faithfulness of donors. The ministries of the Church of the Brethren exist only through the support of those who give generously even during lean economic times.
The above amounts were provided prior to completion of the 2011 audit. Complete financial information will be available in the Church of the Brethren, Inc., audit report, to be published in June 2012.
— LeAnn K. Wine is executive director of Organizational Resources and treasurer of the Church of the Brethren.