The Zion Godsend Task Force is charged with leading thecongregation through a process of reflection and discernment so we may hear an inspired answer in how to use this money to further the mission of this church.
We will begin this process with this series of conversation starters to guide our thoughts, minds and prayers.
It is our hope that we can find a common mission and consensus as we move forward. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are not in a hurry. We have the responsibility to be judicious.
Conversations will be a part of Wednesday Evening Lenten Worship, in the Fellowship Hall.
You are also welcome to view and respond to questions in our online forms.
Conversations will be Wednesdays, February 21 thru March 21, 2018.
We will also be hosting listening sessions on Sunday, March 4 & March 18 during FED time.
The Godsend task force met again on February 6 to continue efforts to craft questions which will solicit feed-back from members of the congregation concerning how to approach the Godsend. Feedback will be sought during Lenten services and summarized for presentation to the entire congregation.
The task force is continuing its efforts to determine how the Godsend proceeds should be invested and how the earnings should be utilized.
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.
The task force originally assigned to determine congregation feelings about purchase of the POP parsonage from the Payne Avenue Godsend is now working on the next phase of that project.
The task force consisting of Pastor Nate, Thea Jorgensen, Janine Rousseau, Steve Solberg and Roger Curry is meeting periodically to review investment opportunities to be considered, to develop a philosophy about distribution of the investment returns/original investment and consider duration alternatives.
This will not be a short process and is intended to result in recommendations acceptable to and endorsed by a significant majority of the POP congregation.
Greetings from your Windfall Committee/Task Force, whatever we are supposed to be called.
We are a group who see our roles as to do the research and community consensus gathering around the best, long-term, sustainable use of fund from the sale of the former Pueblo de Dios, former Zion property.
We are a group of PoP members with various connections to the ministries of this church, various work backgrounds. But no leadership within any groups, so as to avoid any potential impressions of either favoritism or conflicts of interest.
Our members are: Roger Curry, Thea Jorgensen, Janine Rousseau (Zempel), Steve Solberg & Pr. Nate.
Due to unplanned circumstances around PoP’s hindrances in purchase of a parsonage, our first task, and our sole focus for now, is on determining the best use of funds so that PoP can secure a parsonage.
As such we are already evaluating some investment options to get an idea of a reasonable expectation for return on investment, to as accurately as possible present various purchasing options for Prince of Peace.
We have gathered information and will begin presenting our findings to a series of focus groups in the month of May, to prepare for a presentation to council which we feel will have the support of an overwhelming consensus of the congregation. And thus move smoothly into a special congregational meeting/vote.
3.Focus Group testing
will be our process again as we move forward into the 2nd and 3rd phases of our mission: finding a sustainable investment which provides a good return - & - creating an outline and method for disbursement of those returns.
We understand that there is much excitement about the possibilities this windfall entails, however, we want to urge caution and ask that we all, as we are able, take part in the process we are setting forth. The good folks at Zion gave this property to the care of Prince of Peace after many years of love and hard work. We owe it to them that this gift works for the good of this community, and the larger church, for as long as possible.
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