I wanted to share my personal Christmas Blessings to you in this season of miracles, light and love. And I also wanted to express my appreciation for your continued support of the Region and its ministries. I am so blessed to live in a Region that provides a bounty of ministries throughout the year. My own family has benefited directly from the ministries of the Ohio Region this year. My parents-in-law participated in an inspiring Adult Conference. My elder daughter Eliza attended Otter Camp, and my younger daughter Olivia attended Grandparents Camp, with my parents-in-law. This month my girls were able to join me in making Thanksgiving pies, collecting donations and making blankets for our Free Store ministry, as we begin to instill the values of compassion and generosity in their young hearts. I have personally benefitted as well. The Commission on Ministry has supported me as I entered Seminary at LTS, and I attended a women's retreat at Camp Christian early this fall. I, along with many other volunteers, have washed windows and cooked meals and collected donations in continued support of our Region's ministries. Our family has been blessed by these ministries.
The past few years have been rough ones for the Ohio Region, but as your volunteer Treasurer, I'm happy to report that we have made significant progress in restoring the financial viability of the Region, thanks in no small part to your continued generosity. The Christmas offering provides nearly 15% of our Regional Ministries income, in addition to nearly 60% coming through our portion of the Disciples Mission Fund (DMF) giving. These gifts allow us to provide outreach and support to our congregations throughout Ohio. Our visiting regional ministers have provided invaluable guidance to our Regional Church Council, as well as supporting ordinations, search-and-call, and other support for our clergy across the state. The Commission on Ministry continues to work with those who have answered the call to ministry, and we have several seminarians currently pursuing ordination (including me!) We are currently in process of hiring a Program Director who has been tasked with restoring the non-summer camp related ministries of our Region, including Disciple Women, Disciple Men, Advance Conference and other Youth ministries. The Program Director will also provide support to camp in the summer season, serving as a central liaison point for all of our camp directors.
Our first order of business has been to stop overspending for Regional Ministries. We achieved that in 2018, running a surplus of $135,000. We expect to run a surplus of $90,000 in 2019. This has been due to several factors:
- Generosity in DMF giving, 50% of which currently is returned to the Ohio Region
- Stable Christmas Offerings, 100% of which are returned to the Ohio Region
- Generosity of our neighboring regions, which are providing Interim Regional Minister services to us at a reduced cost
- Fantastic expense control by our staff
Our next order of business has been to balance the budget for Camp Christian. We believe we will achieve that in 2019, running a surplus of approximately $35,000. Again, this is due to a combination of factors:
- Growth in summer camp revenues
- Continued generosity to Keep the Bell Ringing Gifts
- Excellent expense control by our staff
This has been an expensive year in repairs and Capital Expenditures at Camp Christian, as we had to permanently close the deep pool, and just before the beginning of the camp season, we had to shut down the shallow pool. Our committed and creative Camp Directors, summer staff and counselors made the best of a bad situation, providing alternative water activities for the kids. I know my kids really enjoyed them. We have also permanently closed the waste-water treatment plant, which brings us back into compliance with Delaware County. We've also restored electric to the maintenance buildings, and begun the effort to address drainage and related structural issues at the gym and 3rd girls cabin cluster.
Last but certainly not least, we have been focused on restoring the Permanently Restricted Funds accounts, aka "the trust funds.” We've made $100,000 in progress in that goal this year. If you've been following the Region's finances, you know that we have been underwater in those accounts for several years. As of the end of 2018, we were $141,813 short in our "trust fund” balances. Our total investments at CCF are currently $549,429, which is $40,000 short of the $589,647 that should be held there in Permanently Restricted Fund balances. Dependent on how the stock market ends the year, we may close the gap in 2019. If not, we fully expect to achieve that in 2020.
As we turn to look ahead to 2020 with hope, joy and love, let us not forget to thank God for guidance through this difficult time, and for how God has blessed us this year. As I give thanks to God, I also give thanks to you for your steadfast support. Happy New Year!
Gladys Davis, CPA (inactive)
For more information about the Christmas Offering, which can still be donated to for 2019, please visit: https://disciplesmissionfund.org/special-offerings/christmas/