The Godsend committee met last week and currently anticipates having a recommendation for investing and distribution of the proceeds of the cash realized from the sale of the former Zion property at the time of the June congregational meeting.
Several services during Lent will include discussions about what POP members feel are appropriate recommendations which should influence the deliberations of the committee.
Those recommendations will be included and thoroughly integrated into subsequent committee meetings. Your input is important to the committee. Please plan to attend as many of those services as your schedule permits.
In 2004, members of Zion Lutheran church merged with Prince of Prince, designating use of their 1.9 acre church property and building on Payne Ave in San Jose for Pueblo de Dios, a Lutheran spanish speaking mission congregation. Prince of Peace agreed to supplement Pueblo’s funds to pay the mortgage for the first five years of operation. After 12 years, Pueblo was unable to support mortgage and maintenance of the building on their own, the attendance had declined significantly after their founding Pastor left the congregation, and the ELCA was no longer able to subsidize the Pueblo Pastor’s salary. This left Prince of Peace with a land asset and crumbling building. Pastor Sara’s hours were increased to full time (from 75%) to manage the process of closing down Pueblo and preparing the building and property for next steps.
The Prince of Peace congregation voted to sell the property in 2016. After a long process, the sale closed in July 2017, resulting in approximately $4.7 million “windfall” for Prince of Peace. The Windfall Committee was formed to make recommendations to the congregation how the funds should be used. The congregation still votes on distribution of funds.
After a series of focus group studies the Windfall Committee recommended that the congregation use the funds from the sale of the Payne Ave property to purchase a parsonage (home for Pastors to live in). Currently we are meeting to plan how to achieve a similar level of engagement and cohesion around both the savings/use of the remainder of these funds. We believe this is an opportune time for some work examining and articulating our shared mission.
The group’s name has been changed to Godsend Task force to emphasize that these funds are not just a happy accident.
We are organizing and will be hosting a series of conversations during Lenten worship services, encouraging us to focus on the mission this church has for this valley and the world. We will be collecting information through these sessions with the goal of creating a vision for the use of these funds which has the support of this congregation. We are aiming to have this project completed by the Congregational Elections Meeting in late May or early June. However, congregational buy-in must be achieved before any voting will be requested.
REPORT DELIVERED BY PASTOR NATE
Godsend Task Force Report > Pastor Nate provided the Godsend Task Force update. It was noted that this process needs to be carefully made and based on our mission statement. A recommendation will be ready for both investment and disbursement in approximately May 2018. The funds are sitting in a Mission Investment Fund (MIF) at a rate of approximately 1% based on secured/low-risk funds.
A PROPOSAL FOR BETTER STEWARDSHIP OF THE FUNDS DURING THE INTERIM
Congregation member Bill McHugh suggested that the group investigate moving the $3M into a higher yielding account based on the current market.
A motion was made by Bill McHugh and seconded by Christine Linthacum to research in next 30 days for a better investment return for the windfall funds in order to be better stewards.
Bill McHugh made an amendment to the motion to allow for 30 days to report options to Council and then Council to make a final decision. This amendment was seconded by Anne Hess.
Questions were asked regarding the timeline and a suggestion was made to divide the funds for better rate of return. Jim Wilczak summarized the ambitious goal, noted that it would be about $25k and would have higher risk and added that the May 2018 goal is too soon and should be made in January 2019 at next year’s annual meeting. Katie Hoffman asked the Task Force how and why the decision was made to park the current funds in the original account. Pastor Nate responded to say that the decision was made by Executive Council on the account. Janet Chance called to vote. Christine Linthacum asked a question before the vote was made. Amended vote: 33 in favor, 32 voted against. Amendment passed.
Vote for the Task Force to investigate other investment options in interim within 30 days to present to Council for an increase in return: 26 voted in favor. 38 voted against. Motion did not carry.
A motion was made by Clay Baron and seconded by Colleen Sullivan to change the name to the Zion Godsend Task Force. Motion was carried by majority vote. 4 voted against.
A SECOND MOTION FOR REINVESTMENT
A motion was made by Christine Linthacum to have Council look at other investment opportunities to increase the return over 1% in the 60 days. The motion was seconded by Mike Hugill. The motion was carried by majority vote. 3 voted against.
The Godsend task force met on 1/3/2018 to attempt to formulate plans for distribution of the fund (formerly called Windfall) and to consider investment options. Specifics may emerge prior to Lent, or the conclusion of Lent. However, the task force is committed to an orderly process in which the fund and its earnings will be maximized for the benefit of others. That may result in a longer period of deliberation than indicated above. The task force will meet again in mid-January to continue to work on this important project.
Listening Station Questions
Task Force Mission
Our role is to do the research and community consensus gathering around the best, long-term, sustainable use of fund from the sale of the, former Zion property.
Task Force Members
No regular office hours due to mandatory self-distancing.
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