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“Four Scenarios” Task Force is Forming. Join us!


There is concern about First Parish’s long-range financial position. To be clear, we are in no immediate danger, but at this year’s Annual Congregational Meeting (ACM), the congregation approved a significant deficit budget that will be covered from funds from the Stability Fund (our savings cushion) and from surpluses from previous years.

Thanks to the care shown by many people who came before us, First Parish is able to continue our current level of expenses, even with reduced revenues. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to look at our financial position in a thoughtful manner and make informed decisions for the future.

Given that we passed a budget that will draw funds from the Stability Fund for this Fiscal Year, there will be a couple of efforts to address the future finances of First Parish. One was sketched out in the Fincom Annual Report:

Please note that FinCom is comfortable with only 1 year with this level of negative cash flow and accumulated surplus usage. The Board has approved our request to provide a policy and plan for use of accumulated surplus by March 1, 2019.
Our suggestion would be to create a group from among the membership, BOT, and FinCom empowered to further define cash policy as the cornerstone for an updated Strategic Plan.

In addition, Rev. Marjorie’s Minister’s Report at the ACM suggested undertaking a strategic plan starting in the spring of 2019.

Jan Hardenbergh, the acting Assistance Treasurer, submitted the following motion at the ACM, which was approved, with the understanding that Jan would be Chair:

To form a congregational task force to prepare four scenarios for the financial future of First Parish. Each scenario will consist of different revenue and expenditure assumptions. These scenarios will be presented to the congregation next January.

About the Four Scenarios Task Force

The Four Scenarios Task Force will generate four possible future situations, from optimistic to pessimistic, that First Parish might find itself in, based on a range of assumptions about the driving forces of our finances. We will present our report to the congregation in January 2019. This report will help other groups generate policy for our long range Strategic Plan.

Here is a link to a short presentation about creating scenarios that gives an idea of the process: Scenario-Planning-Slides_MaryCook-LLC.pdf

If you are interested in participating please contact Jan at .

More information about the financial situation of First Parish is available on the internal website (the Village). There you will find the 2018 Annual Report, the FY2019 Approved Budget, and the Funds Description. If you have trouble logging into the Village website, contact Jan Hardenbergh or Tom Yelton.