President's Report to our St Mark Congregation
The latest status on our pastoral Call: Pastor Kassulke of Tuscon, AZ is currently considering our Associate Pastor Call as I write this report. A reminder: The voters have voted to call a graduate from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, pending the response from Pastor Kassulke. If Pastor Kassulke returns our St Mark Call, we have directed our District President to present our need to the Synod's Assignment Committee in later May.
Pastor Prahl and Char Prahl have requested a release from their Calls as of June 30, 2019, due to their retirements. The council expressed its thankfulness to the Prahl's for their ministry careers spent at fostering and growing St Mark's church and school. On the medical front, Pastor Prahl states that he's also been approved by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for surgery that will hopefully have a positive effect on his Parkinson's disease. He expects this operation to take place in the next 5 to 6 months. The council wishes rest and the all of the best things that retirement brings! Pastor Naumann reports another BIC (Bible Information Class) starting Monday nights. There are 6 people in attendance. Pastor Naumann again spoke of dealing with our young couples - mainly in dealing with living together prior to marriage. He does not hesitate to correct this action by suggesting an immediate marriage and later celebrating a renewal of vows as the main wedding celebration. A big part of our pastor's role at any congregation is to keep our members educated in the Word of God, and reminded, and rebuked when we dangerously stray into what the world deems as "no big deal - and commonplace". Both of our pastors reminded council that we need to understand right from wrong as the Bible teaches, not from today's ever-changing worldly interpretations of right and wrong.
Elders are working on our website updates. The main focus is on the website content of "what we believe" and how best to explain that to the outside world. The team has made some great progress and should soon be ready to "turn on" our updated website. The team also continues focus on encouraging our less active members. They are considering formation of a small team to maintain contact with these members and encourage them to attend - before these members completely lose touch with our congregation and church.
Stewardship is considering updating our member list with a time and talent survey. They state that it has been a LONG time since this information has been updated.
The Board of Education reports work on forming a three person committee to represent St Mark in the formation discussions of an area Lutheran high school. The committee is targeted at working with area congregations in these discussions.
Our Principal, Peter Micheel, continues his drive to publicize our school. The Kids Expo and future planning on representation at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair are some examples. School accreditation continues to be a huge focus of Peter's. An audit is being requested by our voters to continue the process. Peter also reports that science and math books are looking to be updated. Versions are being examined by staff as this has been a planned and budgeted event.
Buildings and Grounds report that after looking at various designs, they are recommending not to install handrails. They now have learned that the steps have been designed to be utilized without handrails. The voters will be presented with an option to redirect or end this effort. The team also reports that only minor things need finishing in the Patton Street parsonage. Valley Builders will be here (I believe they are currently working as I type this) on installation of our more secure doors and entryways; funded by a grant from the state.
Board of Technology report that they are ramping on the website and content. They are working on linking in Facebook feeds and getting those accounts set up and working. The team also wishes to utilize the time and talent surveys to involve our youth. If you're a new confirmand, this team needs your help! Our website is being driven by quite a bit of social media. The team also continues to ask for our youth to help in video recording - a key item in reaching our members and potential future members. Please see a pastor, or send me an email/text - if you're interested in helping. We need your help!
Finance reports that they continue to see substantial donations to our debt retirement effort. They have provided input to our Treasurer for our debt payoff options to be considered by our voters' on April 28th.
Our Treasurer reports that $24K has been collected for debt retirement so far this year. He believes that our property debt should be about $130K-140K by the time the voters' meeting happens (04/28). Options will be presented to our voters to either (1) pay off our property debt via internal borrowing of funds or (2) take another short-term loan. Another item for the voters is our State Street assessment (a roundabout will be installed this summer) of $17K. The City of Eau Claire wishes to know how we are paying - lump sum or leveraged assessment payments. Our voters will also need to decide on this direction.
In closing, thank you to all that have been asked to serve on our boards. We've had a good turnout of volunteers. Your time and talents are greatly appreciated. New ideas, energy, and knowledge are needed by your congregation to carry out its mission. We will meet on 04/28 (our next voters' meeting) to elect our next board candidates. Having your help is greatly appreciated - and is also very personally rewarding to each volunteer!
I'll include my standard closing statement with you: If you ever need more information on any of the work the boards are performing, let me know. I'll work to find the answer or raise a suggestion for discussion. Contact information for me: Email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Cell (715.497.5264) - feel free to give me a call if you want to discuss anything we're working on, if you have ideas, can help, or just want to chat. Your council values your ideas and support.
In God's service,
Eric Fischer, President