May News Regarding the Foundry Management Board and Church Conference

Friday, June 13, 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 May 27, 2014 meeting.

The Church Conference meets periodically to make decisions on major matters for the church. This report covers the June 1, 2014 meeting. 

May Management Board Meeting

At its May Management Board meeting, the Finance Committee of the Board reported that revenues are down $200,000 short of the projected amount for this time of year. This shortfall will be investigated and appropriate action taken to mitigate the trend. 

Attendance is slightly up. An Attendance Task Force will develop a strategy to address ongoing attendance trends.

Costs for the events surrounding Dean’s retirement ($10,750) and for information technology equipment upgrades ($15,000) will come from the operating reserve, which has a balance of more than $500,000.

Financial Management  

All financial reports came in timely and correct fashion, an advance in procedure over the past.  As promised by the Executive Pastor at the April board meeting, the (finance) committee received completed financial reports at the requested 72-hour prior interval. This was the first timely set of reports since the board's inception in July 2012.

The 2013 audit is complete. Auditors will report at the next Board meeting. The audit committee is looking for new members.

Mission Possible Lay Oversight

The Building and Finance Task Forces, which were created in a 2011 Church Conference, have completed the responsibilities assigned to them. They were responsible for the financial and building plans for Mission Possible. The Board discussed a structure for continuing oversight of the church renovation. Current Mission Possible leaders will be consulted. A recommendation will be made by Executive Pastor Dawn Hand at the June Board meeting.

June Church Conference Report 

At the Church Conference Foundry members elected three members of the Foundry Management Board to serve three-year terms ending in June of 2017.  P.J. (Preston) Taylor was elected to serve a first term. Louise Franklin and Dan Vock were each elected to serve a second term.  Jane Northern’s term expired. New terms begin in July.

Governance Changes

The Church Conference also approved bylaws changes to:

  • Make the Management Board’s Audit Committee a standing (or permanent) committee.
  • Provide procedures for filling temporary vacancies on the Management Board.
  • Clarify the duties of Management Board officers.
  • Allow the Senior Pastor, if he/she wishes, to appoint a chief of staff to whom he/she delegates the responsibilities to attend board meetings, supervise staff and oversee daily management of the church.

“We as a board are trying to make ourselves as transparent as possible about what we’re doing and how we’re organized,” said Beth Scott, head of the Board’s Governance Committee, which developed the proposed by-law changes.

Annual Conference Report

The Church Conference heard reports from Foundry’s delegation to the Baltimore-Washington Conference annual meeting held the last week of May.

Five human sexuality resolutions designed to make the United Methodist Church more inclusive were approved by wide margins, including for one written by Foundry which states that the conference values diversity and includes churches at which LGBT members are welcome, and can be open and be ministered to. The Foundry ‘agree-to-disagree’ resolution was approved, 549-304.

 “Those are momentous numbers,” said Ann Brown Birkel, a member of the Foundry delegation.

The other resolutions approved include:

  • One proposed by Metropolitan UMC to stop church trials of clergy who perform same-sex marriages, passed by a vote of 519-334. "This was a breakthrough vote," said Birkel.
  • A resolution from the Baltimore-Washington Area Reconciling Ministries declaring that the Baltimore-Washington Conference is inclusive, 548-304.
  • A Grace United Methodist Church resolution to remove non-inclusive language from the Book of Discipline, 511-344.
  • A resolution encouraging change in a West Virginia anti-discrimination statute that does not currently include sexuality bias, 806-49.

Foundry member Tracy Collins said that the discussions about inclusivity at the Annual Conference were constructive. "People need to talk. People need to know each other," Collins said. "We hope this is a beginning for [the United Methodist] church."

Mission Possible

At the Church Conference Foundry members voted, 78-6, to launch Phase I of the Mission Possible building renovations, which will create a new, large Fellowship Hall and reception area where the chapel, parlor and Laws Gallery now stand. The vote authorized church leaders to negotiate a $3 million loan to add to current pledges to fund the renovation.

“The approval of the Mission Possible renovation plan and loan is a huge step forward in the life of Foundry Church,” said Dan Vock, president of the Foundry Management Board. “The improvements will strengthen our missions and ministries for generations to come.”  Construction is likely to begin in the fall of 2015. (More details on the Mission Possible project may be found in the June 8 Focus, on the Foundry website, and in Laws Gallery.) 

--Mark Schoeff Jr., Barbara Cambridge and Elder Wellborn on behalf of the Mission Possible communications team