By Ann Lin

We are entering the church’s busiest time of the year with winter events, service opportunities and all that Advent brings to our worship calendar.  There is also extra activity in Buildings & Grounds with the receipt of the anonymous $1,000,000 capital improvement donation. The first project targeted to install is a new Copper Coil Assistive Listening system that will improve sound in the Sanctuary for those using hearing aids and making our headphones no longer necessary for those with hearing aids.

I hope you have noticed and are using the bounce pads in our Courtyard and online event registration using the Church Center app . Church Center is our new software we also call Planning Center. The Church Center app can be downloaded from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You use it to make one-time or recurring donations, register and pay for Piedmont Community Church activities such as the Winter Concert, fellowship dinners, Mexico Mission trip and volunteering events. Registering through Church Center better shows us which events generate the most interest. And advance registration allows more accurate planning for food and supply purchase and preparation.  For example, we had 42 children and parents register for the Fall Fest but 60 people showed up.  I hope you take advantage of our many upcoming events and can get to know the people who you would otherwise might only see in the pews.

Here is the President’s report for the Board of Trustees meeting held November 13, 2023.

Finance Committee is asking all Staff Departments and Board Committees to re-forecast budgets for the rest of fiscal year 2023-2024. This will help us stay on track for a balanced budget and plan our cash flow while maximizing our investment returns. Cash flow planning is more important than most years due to the $1,000,000 capital gift as we start repairs and improvements, knowing winter rains will prohibit roofing and some exterior work.

Stewardship examined the results of the NextGen fundraising campaign. Eleven new families donated who had not participated in last year’s annual stewardship campaign. With our endowment exceeding our goal of $1,000,000, we will encourage legacy gifts for projects over endowment gifts, which limit spending to 5-7% annually. Special project gifts can be made to areas having personal significance to the donor such as music, youth or mission with the full amount of a gift eligible for use immediately. The timeline is set for the 2024 annual stewardship drive.

Buildings & Grounds is hard at work getting estimates and prioritizing projects from the Facility Assessment Report. This report was the long-range professional assessment of our facility for maintenance, updating and replacement conducted last year. A million dollars for capital improvements may seem like a lot but with our old campus and much deferred maintenance, we must select which repairs to undertake now and in which order. Interviews for a construction manager to oversee this work will start soon. We received a bid for a new Copper Coil Assistive Listening system for the Sanctuary. This will improve the sound for people using hearing aids and eliminate the need for headphones. Contractors are engaged to start exploratory demolition in the Narthex and North entry resulting in a proposal and schedule. Those who have noticed and are concerned about the water flowing down our Mountain Avenue stairs will be happy to know evaluation of the irrigation system and repairs needed are underway.  Buildings & Grounds is evaluating the expiring Linda Beach Preschool lease and use contracts and will negotiate the renewal in January.

Personnel reports our front desk is covered two hours daily and is evaluating if more time or more support is needed beyond front desk phone duty. A subcommittee was formed to evaluate future ministerial and staff housing policy options. Updating the Employee Handbook continues and a review with the Trustees is planned for December.

Mission Board is scheduling volunteer service events with a goal to schedule for the rest of the fiscal year. They also are  reviewing and scheduling Moments for Mission for the Sunday worship service.  Children Rising will receive our Christmas offering, which will support a homework tutoring program.  $8,000 checks were sent to each of our three Mission Partner organizations. Letters to invite applications for project funding will go out soon. These grants will be funded by the remaining $16,000 in the Mission grant budget. To make more grants possible, Mission Board is brainstorming fundraising options.

Deacons report Sunday welcome tables in the Courtyard will have bounce pads for electronic signups to all events soon; use is optional. Name tags will automatically print. Options to get Sunday worship to start on time is under discussion. A new members class is coming soon, date TBD.  Expanding congregational care is being evaluated. This work currently is being done by Dottie. Church fellowship dinners are being planned. Don would like to see an adult fellowship activity once every other month. A joint 100-year birthday celebration for John Becker and Evelyn Edens took place on November 12 after the Sunday worship service. Deacons will promote City Teams’ Adopt-A-Family.  Deacons also will support the church Advent Fair, Alternative Gift Market and possibly the Winter Concert.

NextGen reports continued increase in regular attendance and engagement in group life through all age groups and various programs. This past month, five new Middle School and High School volunteers and three new pre-K through elementary volunteers were recruited, and a new caregiver for nursery trained. All age groups in NextGen and their parents enjoyed fun, food, activities and lots of pumpkins in our Fall events. Forty-two people registered but 60 people attended our first Fall Fest. There was a Middle School and separate High School Pumpkin Palooza. There was a High School weekend retreat at Alliance Redwoods camp. The monthly Middle School and High School Parents fellowship dinners continue but will change their regular day of the week to avoid conflict with Thursday night Life Group meetings. The High School group prepared and served a dinner at CityTeam in November and the Middle School group will prepare a sack lunch for CityTeam in December. Mexico planning is gearing up. Registration occurred for both church members (11/13) and non-church members (11/15). A Middle School retreat is planned for February.