Update from the Board of Stewards

May 6, 2020

Greetings Central Family from the Board of Stewards! We hope this message finds you all healthy, safe, and well. The Board has been very busy these past few months. It is hard to believe it has been nearly 8 weeks since we were last able to gather; so much has happened in our world, and the life of our church, in that time. The Board has had countless Zoom meetings, group text messages, emails, and phone calls during this period of time, as we continue to seek the Lord and His leading for Central Baptist Church.

In an effort to keep you all better informed and connected, we will plan to provide weekly updates to you as part of the Wednesday email. Here is the latest news we have to share:

1. Financial Update:
As many of you know, we have faced budget shortfalls for the past fiscal year, resulting in difficult decisions about staff cuts earlier this year. The Stay Home order brought us to the edge of a significant financial crisis, and despite operational budget cuts, we were faced with the possibility of laying off nearly all of our staff. Your response and generosity has been a huge blessing and encouragement to us. I am pleased to report that while we are still behind in our giving, our financial situation has greatly improved.

In addition to your giving, the Board has undertaken two other significant steps to ensure the short and long term financial stability of our church. Our Treasurer Dave Hansen has applied for and we have just this week received $76,500 from the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program. In April, the Central Foundation generously gave the Church a Refundable Grant in the amount of $96,000. Both of these funds, which are not loans, provide us with an “emergency backstop” the Board will use only if and when needed. We are grateful for your continued support of the mission and ministry of Central Baptist!

2. What is the Staff Doing?
Pastor Joel, Pastor Brett, and Cecil Bonebright have done a remarkable job of serving us well every Sunday since March 15. We have been able to ensure that folks have multiple ways in which they can access the Sunday Worship Service, including those with limited or no access to technology. Pastor Chuck continues to serve our Youth on Wednesday nights, as well as connecting individually throughout the week. Pastor Troy continues to connect with and serve many in our church and community, as well as leading Bible study. Pastor Terri lead us beautifully through the Lenten season, and continues her operational work with CCSI. Although the church office is closed in accordance with the Governor’s Stay Home orders, Alicia and Steve continue to work, mostly remotely and sometimes on site, ensuring calls and emails are returned, communications are sent out, offerings and mail is processed, and bills are paid with the help of our faithful friend Howard Haataja. Children’s Ministry Volunteers Lorilyn Hoglund and Brian Bjerke have continued to faithfully serve our kids with socially distant Easter visits and weekly recorded lessons and readings.

All Staff members have taken turns posting devotionals and reflections every Tuesday and Friday, and Pastor Joel leads us in Prayer every Thursday at noon. And the Staff continues having weekly Zoom meetings, which lately have focused on multiple strategies for the Church as we look to the future and imagine creative ways in which we can begin to gather again once some of the Stay Home restrictions begin to lift a bit. Thank you for your prayers for our Staff as they continue to faithfully love and serve the church in this season of change and uncertainty.

3. What is the Board doing?
As many of you are aware, Central Baptist is self governed. The Board of Stewards are the elected leaders and Trustees of the Church, with the Board Chair being the Chief Elected Officer of the Church. We are guided by our Bylaws, which include all agreed upon Affirmations of Faith, as well as all church governance, including annual meetings, budgets, financial management, elections, and church administration.

Unfortunately, our Bylaws have no provision for Board management in cases of any kind of emergency, including a pandemic. This has posed some serious challenges for the Board in moving forward with a number of pressing tasks.

Our primary focus the past few months has been the immediate stability of our church finances, and working on an Interim Pastor search. We’re also in regular conversation about how we can move forward with church business in this ongoing time of separation. We hope to have additional news and more specific details to share in the weeks to come

4. What about the Nominating Committee and Pastoral Search Process?
Right now this process is on pause for a number of reasons, which are directly related to the pandemic and the inability of the Board and the congregation to gather. We will have more specific information for you in the weeks to come. In the meantime, if you have someone you believe should be a candidate for the Pastoral Search Committee, please submit their name(s) to Board Chair Catherine Westby and/or Nominating Committee Chair Dan Leggett.

On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank you all for your continued prayers for us as we seek to lead the church in these unprecedented times. God has demonstrated His faithfulness to us time and again, and we fully place our trust in Him as we continue to serve His Kingdom through the work of Central Baptist. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, and concerns via email at catherinewestby@yahoo.com, or phone at 651-233-9902.

In Christ,
Catherine Westby
Chair, Board of Stewards

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Address: 420 N Roy St, St Paul, MN 55104

Phone: (651) 646-2751

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