April 30, 2020

Council President Message:

What a joy it has been to see your response to our current financial             challenges.  As I reported to you earlier this month, your increased giving and our actions to reduce our monthly outlays got us through April in a much better financial position than we had hoped just a few weeks ago. For that and for your prayer support of Desert Hills Lutheran Church, I thank you. I also thank Pastor Martin, Pastor Ken and the small staff still working for their efforts to continue our mission of Celebrating Grace, Making Disciples, and Making a Difference. Through daily messages and devotions, weekend services via video, and daily phone calls to provide pastoral care, our mission moves us toward the future.

At this time, we do not know what that “future” will be. People talk and speculate about a “new normal” but that is just another unknown for all of us. Of paramount importance to DHLC leadership is keeping each of you healthy and doing nothing too soon that would jeopardize your health.

When the council approved the budget cuts, implemented last month, we said we would review our situation at the end of April. Our hope was to receive financial help through a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan. Unfortunately, we did not receive one during the first round of funding. The program recently received additional funding, but if and when we receive funding is unknown.

Through your generous support we survived a potential budget crisis. Many of you have already fulfilled your 2020 pledges and others, who did not pledge, stepped up with gifts as well. Thank you, over and again!

Now, however, DHLC needs to move from crisis management to a phase of sustaining our church through months of uncertainty. Based upon information from the ELCA and our synod, we must plan to sustain DHLC for five months at a minimum. Our goal is to come out of this difficult time as strong or stronger than ever.

To accomplish this goal, the council decided, after considering many scenarios, to implement additional budget cuts in May. These include deeper cuts in hours and pay for a few staff members and a lay-off of several employees. This was a most difficult decision as our employees are our friends and fellow worshipers. We made a firm commitment to those impacted by this decision to restore them to full employment as quickly as possible. Further, we provided them with information regarding unemployment benefits. We also kept in place our freeze on committee spending and the reduction in benevolence outlays. As before, we will review these actions at the end of May and adjust as warranted.

Several things can help us out of this situation. First, if we do get the PPP loan, we will immediately re-hire all who were laid off and restore full salary for all our employees. Second, if giving exceeds our projections and continues at more normal levels, we may be able to reverse some other actions. Please join us in prayer that this can happen.

Even as we make these difficult decisions, we are searching for ways to “Make A Difference” for staff, our members and our community. DHLC has been and will continue to be a great place to worship and fellowship despite our current challenges.

I urge you to stay connected with us by reading the daily messages and devotions. Worship with us through the weekend service videos. Please pray for the folks on our prayer list. And, prayerfully consider how you can help us weather these turbulent financial times.

In His Service,

John Martin

Council President