First Parish Preliminary (working) Budget for July 2015 through June 2016

The Finance Committee is charged with developing an appropriate budget and spending plan for the congregation to vote on at the annual meeting. Budget development includes reviewing the prior year’s budget to be sure that it accurately reflected what happened, preparing for increases in pricing that we don’t control (ranging from utilities to insurance among others), and when possible gradually including new efforts that enhance the impact our Unitarian Universalist congregation has in the world.

Starting in December, we continually update the budget for the following church year as we receive new information on actual spending, requests for new items, and feedback from the stewardship/canvass drive.

We will continue to adjust the budget in the next weeks as the stewardship drive wraps up, and we will make our final recommendations to the Parish Committee at their meeting on May 14. The actual budget for next year will be finalized by a vote of the congregation at the Annual Meeting on May 31.

One of our charges is to keep a healthy balance among the different elements of our congregational covenant: Worship, Community, and Service. The current version of the spending plan for next year has a balance we are very comfortable with:

Pie chart of annual budget

Pie chart of annual budget

To prepare the proposed budget, the finance committee got recommendations from our minister Stephanie May, from the other staff members, and from the committees.

At the time this piece was written, the preliminary version of the budget recognizes many of the requests we received, including:

  • Includes a 2.5% pay increase for our returning staff (we weren’t able to give any staff raises last year);
  • Covers increased costs for staff medical insurance premiums;
  • Adds pro-rated medical insurance premium costs for the part time employees who are eligible for the UUA plan (the Membership Coordinator, the Parish Administrator, and the Sexton);
  • Includes technology improvements for our communications team who face the challenge of finding better ways to connect us all together, and to people who are trying to find us;
  • Proposes additional funding to obtain membership and newcomers materials as part of our effort to introduce our faith to new people and draw them into our community;
  • Continues the same compensation as last year for the Director of Religious Education (the church will be searching for a new person to fill this role – the parish committee asked us to keep the funding level for the time being);
  • Allows us to move some of our operational software to the cloud to make it easier for our minister and volunteers to have access to the data they need;
  • Includes some facilities costs that used to be funded by the ESMF (furniture repair, rug cleaning, etc.);
  • Includes funding for some social action efforts that weren’t in the budget in the past (the gardens at the UUUM in Roxbury and the Partner Church student);
  • Increases funding for the landscaping committee due to winter damage;
  • Restores the annual contribution to the snowplowing reserve account.

Depending on how much the church’s income will be next year we hope that some – or even all – of these elements will be part of the budget we present at the Annual Meeting.

If you are interested in receiving a summary of the most current version of the preliminary church budget for 2015-2016, please send an email to

In addition to the worthwhile goals we hope to include in the 2015-2016 budget, the finance committee also received many ideas for the long-range (3-5 year) spending plan we are developing. If you are interested in seeing some of the exciting things our committees would like to do in the future, click here.

We hope you will join us after services on Sunday May 17th at 11:30 am in the Sun Room meeting room to take a closer look at the updated budget, and how close we have come to being able to fully fund it.

If you have any questions, please always feel free to talk to any member of the finance committee: Annie Stubbs, Lynn Trimby, Susie Keyes, or Suzanne Tiberii.