January News Regarding the Foundry Management Board

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Foundry Management Board, a nine-person elected group, meets monthly to discuss and make decisions regarding the management of the church. This report covers the January 2014 meeting. 

Foundry set to launch Mission Possible loan search 

Foundry will seek a loan in February to finance the Mission Possible renovation project, according to a report to the church’s Management Board at its Jan. 28 meeting. 

Al Hammer, Associate Pastor and Chief Operating Officer, told the board that Foundry will put out requests for proposals to five or six banks. After receiving responses, the church staff will present the loan options to the Finance Committee and then the board over the next two months. 

The loan would augment the approximately $3.1 million the church has raised from 333 donors in its capital campaign over the last year. Among the highlights of the first phase of the project is transforming the middle section of the church, which now contains the chapel and Helen Harris parlor, into a flexible fellowship space. 

The loan would have to be approved by a church vote later this spring. 

Foundry Management Board President Dan Vock said that church leadership must stress to the congregation the necessity and value of the renovations that can be accomplished with the help of a loan. 

“We have to have a Holy Conversation ahead of time,” Vock said. 

After obtaining congregational approval of the Mission Possible loan and financial plan, the church will begin improvements to the sanctuary --upgrading sound quality, carpet and pew cushions -- and the air-handling system while architects complete drawings for the new fellowship hall. 

In other actions, the board approved a transfer of $58,049 from the operating reserve to cover a $48,371 budget shortfall in 2012 as well as charges for inauguration weekend in 2009 and the summer of discernment in 2010. The transfers were an accounting move to clean up the church's books; the money had already been spent. The board also approved a $74,364 transfer from the reserve fund to cover various tax liabilities dating back to 2007. 

As of Dec. 31, the operating reserve was $838,815. The only committed expenses were for a budgeted $100,000 shortfall in 2013, which now looks as if it will come in at less than $50,000. 

The board also approved a conflict-of-interest policy for the board. 

In his report to the board, Senior Minister Dean Snyder highlighted the drop in attendance that Foundry has experienced since 2011. The 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. services now draw a combined total of fewer than 600 congregants, down from about 650 in 2010.

Several factors may be contributing to the fall – from the cancelation of the 5:30 service last year to frequent street and Metro closures to the rise of several reconciling congregations in Maryland and Virginia that are drawing former Foundry members. 

“One year can be a blip,” Snyder said. “As a result of a two-year pattern, you have to analyze the factors and how to address them.” 

A prominent exception to the attendance dip was near capacity 11 a.m. services on Dec. 22 and Jan. 26, when the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked for performing his son’s same-sex marriage, preached. 

“It’s helped our energy; it’s helped our passion; it’s helped identify us,” Snyder said. 

He pointed out that the church now has to ensure it also maintains its commitment to issues other than inclusions, such as ending homelessness and stopping the cradle-to-prison pipeline. 

Submitted by the Mission Possible Communications Committee