May 3, 2017


Dear Friends,


Despite our best efforts we have a serious deficit for Fiscal Year 2018 (Sept. 2017 - Aug. 2018).  Because of this, the budget session attendees last week and the Standing Committee agreed that we should ask for your financial help.  Many thanks are extended to the forty people who attended the two productive budget sessions. Your feedback was invaluable. Thanks also to all those have generously pledged.  This pledge drive raised more money than last year’s.  Unfortunately, we are still overwhelmed by current and recurring expenses.


In brief, the initial FY18 budget is at a $42,000 deficit, a place of concern but also enlightenment.  With hard work and care the Standing Committee has brainstormed with the help of our treasurers, staff and various committees to reduce this deficit to $900.  Many cuts have been made.  We have reduced funding across all areas of our programming.  In addition, the largest savings is a two-week staff furlough, effectively a two-week layoff, for all staff including our minister. 


To avoid these furloughs and also fully fund our programs we ask that you consider increasing your pledges for this coming year.  The proposed budget document as shared at the two budget meetings is here.


The Standing Committee wishes to also alert you to our broader concern about the growing imbalance between the size of our membership and our level of our staff expense which this year is approximately 90% of our non-discretionary expenses.


The Standing Committee is recommending that the congregation use the upcoming year to examine our programs, our physical space, and how we reach out to the world beyond our doors.  We hope to identify new ways for both spiritual, and yes, financial growth while increasing membership.  We have so much to offer ourselves as well as our surrounding communities.  Please join us in this discussion and planning as we shape our future here at the Winchester Unitarian Society.


Increasing your pledge by $200, or 10% can close the Budget Gap!  For those who cannot make a long-term pledge increase we accept with gratitude a one-time gift. Your donation today will be doubled! An anonymous church member has generously offered to match $10,000 of pledge increases or contributions dollar-for-dollar.


Any donations received to Close the Budget Gap by will be allocated in this order:

A) $14,400 to remove staff furloughs

B) $6,000 for program expenses

C) $6,000 to fund future contractual sabbaticals


Please increase your pledge or make a one-time contribution using one of the ways below:

      fill out the online Close the Budget Gap form


      stop by the church office to fill out a Close the Budget Gap form (we will have them available on Sunday, May 7th at church as well)


When you make your gift, please write “Close the Budget Gap” on the memo line of your check or when prompted for a notation when using the online donation link.  Please respond by Monday, May 8th. We look forward to hearing your ideas about ways to grow our programs and connections with the community in the coming year.


Thank you for your continued generosity!



The Standing Committee

Sioux Brokaw

Phil Coonley

Donna Denio

Chris Erikson

Rebecca Keller

Ryan Levering

Cynthia Randall

Kathy Richardson

Barbara Savage, Chair

Kate Ebbott and Steve Milt, Co-Treasurers

Maggie Russell, Clerk


The Stewardship and Finance Committee

Steve Butterfield

Kate Ebbott

Sue Kiewra

David Kronberg

Don Landing, Chair

Steve Milt

Judy Murray