Since my last report, we have received two pieces of information regarding the Conference’s financials that are worthy of celebration — the 2015 Audit and our camping program.
Regarding the 2015 Audit, as expected we received the best report for which any institution can hope. In auditors terms, it is called an “unqualified opinion.” This term means that financials were in order and nothing was found to suggest any mismanagement. This report was expected given that it has been the auditor’s report about the Ohio Conference for quite a number of years.
Let me explain the second piece of news worth celebrating. There were a number of years when the conference was spending way beyond its means. A little over two years ago as a conference, we were at a critical juncture of continued viability. At that time the leadership made a variety of cost-cutting measures. Some of the measures required very difficult decisions that involved letting go a number of long-time staff, and reorganizing how we did a number of ministries, most especially outdoor ministries. At about that same time, as we held our yearly meeting with the auditor, he told us it was his duty to inform us that we could not continue to be viable unless we made these changes.
Now that two years have passed, we asked him how we were doing financially. He informed us from a financial perspective that he now numbers us to be among the healthiest organizations that he audits. We have come a long way in just two years.
The other great news has to do with our outdoor ministries. Since we have moved to utilizing an outside management company — United Camps, Conferences and Retreats — to help us manage Pilgrim Hills and Templed Hills camps, we have moved from a yearly deficit position to a profitable position after only 16 months of operation. We ended 2015 with over $63,000 in profit. This is a significant change from our past history.
Our long-time camp manager recently remarked that he cannot remember a year when there was money left over at the end of the year for maintenance. We can now begin to do some necessary repairs that had been put off for a number of years.
It is not often that I get to be the bearer of such good news. I want to give many thanks to all who have played an active role in bringing the conference to this point in time.