by Ted Reed, Treasurer and Chair, Administration and Finance Committee
I have recently received a few inquiries about the budget process at AHCC. I am pleased that church members are asking questions and happy to respond, especially at this time of the year when the budgeting formulation is starting.
There are eight revenue line items and fifteen expense categories in the operating budget. In March, our Program Staff along with each of the 15 operating Committees, which are comprised of AHCC members, begin deliberations on their respective spending priorities. The Committees are provided guidance by the Administration and Finance Committee depending on recent member giving patterns and economic conditions.
Committee needs vary year to year. Consequently, one committee may reduce their allocation while other committees may enjoy an increased allocation. Once the final draft is complete, the Administration and Finance Committee recommends it to the Diaconate, who makes the final approval in May, for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.
Projections on the revenue side of the ledger have become more challenging in the past few years. Economic conditions in Connecticut and New England continue to be uncertain and our own church revenue patterns have changed considerably. Traditionally, a remarkably large percentage of our congregation members made firm pledge commitments annually to support our church activities. The certainty of pledge revenue enabled existing and new church programs and outreach initiatives to expand and thrive over time. Given the meaningful decline in the number of AHCC pledging members, sound budget practices portend a reduction of the size of the current, and potentially, future budgets.
AHCC’s annual budget is more than a collection numbers. Each year it represents what our church members hold dear – our collective values and aspirations to serve AHCC members, the Hartford community, and even organizations beyond U.S. borders. The budget process is designed to invite the sharing, caring, and outreach principles that our church has always championed.