2015 Year-End Report
By Sam Buehrer
Ohio Conference UCC Board Treasurer
I am pleased to report that the Ohio Conference has turned the corner and is in a very different position than it was in 2012 when I was asked to become the Treasurer. At that time, it was projected that the Conference would be cash poor, meaning not able to pay its bills in 2014. Since that time, significant changes were made in management of the conference and in the management of Outdoor Ministry.
In 2012, we experienced a loss of over $450,000. That level of loss was unsustainable. Because of the many changes that were implemented since then, we reduced that loss to only $2,300 in 2015. That amount is all of 0.3% of our overall operation. Given the size of our financial operation, that is about as close as one can get to matching income to expenses. Because we are no longer experiencing significant deficits, it pleases me to report that now the Board of Directors is in a very different position when it comes to decision making. Now we are able to plan with long-term thinking in a way that we could not three years ago.
I believe we have rounded a corner, but we are not yet out of the woods. This past year, I was anticipating a fairly flat year in terms of income over the previous year. As it turned out, three of our associations saw an increase in income, and one saw a slight decrease. But one association experienced a loss of almost 19% in Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) giving to the conference. This 19% loss amounted to almost $55,000. Because of this loss, the conference will need to take measures to further reduce expenses in a way that we had not anticipated a year ago.
Our Outdoor Ministry program is in a much better place than we were last year, let alone three years ago. Every year this ministry is supported by our OCWM dollars so that we can keep registration fees lower than the actual cost of providing the program. This year we supported this ministry with around $85,000 to bring it to a breakeven point. This level of support is a very manageable level.
Three years ago, even with that sizable support, we ran a deficit of around $350,000. That level of deficit was not sustainable. That is the reason for the many changes in the camping program. 2015 was the first full year that United Camps, Conferences and Retreats has managed our Pilgrim Hills site. I am pleased to report that through their fiscal oversight they have moved the management of the camp from a deficit position to that of a profitable one. We are pleased with the care that they show for the facilities.
I am currently working with the Finance Committee, Bookkeeper and Auditor as we are reviewing the past year and planning for the coming year.