As we wrap up the year that has just passed, we would like to express our gratitude to you, the members and friends of Seaside United Methodist Church for your excellent support of our church through the year. It has been a most positive year of growth for our congregation. Though we lost a substantial number of members to death in 2014, we received even more new members. The development of our ministries for Christian Formation and spiritual growth have expanded as we transitioned our staffing to provide for a full-time Director of Formation and Program (Stefanie Riley). We also expanded our outreach into the community through the hugely successful STARS program in which more than 80 of you played an active part. Worship attendance also expanded through the year. Not a bad way to spend our 25th anniversary!
Financially, Seaside experienced our strongest years ever. Though the level of activity and some unexpected maintenance costs pressed our expenses beyond our budget, giving was always more than adequate to cover those overages. At the end of the year, giving exceeded our projections by about $64,000, allowing us to more than cover the expenses related to replacing a large AC unit in the fellowship hall (the breakdown occurred the week of Country Fair!), provide additional funds required for professional audit of our church accounts, and other excess expenses related to normal operations (all told, approximately $32,000). The remaining balance at the end of the year allowed us to replenish an exhausted Maintenance Reserve Fund (used to cover unexpected large maintenance expenses in the future—like air conditioners), purchase and install new projectors for the sanctuary, and relieve pressure on our 2015 budget by prepaying a substantial portion of the loan on our new bus. We were able to do all of this while maintaining a comfortable cash reserve moving forward.
In all, it has been an outstanding year and we look forward to continuing to build “Bridges to connect people in a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ” in the year ahead.