I trust this letter finds you well. I’m writing to share with you some changes here in the Upper Columbia Conference.
For the past ten years the Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) has continued to grow in membership and have tithe gains over the same period. God is truly blessing us as a conference family in the midst of difficult economic times. At the same time inflation has outpaced the generous tithe support of members, resulting in significantly higher operating expenses, primarily healthcare costs. Our health care costs have doubled in the last 10 years. We’ve done what we can to trim spending wherever possible, including employee pay cuts and reducing budgets and staff at the UCC office, but that has not been sufficient. We are being forced to reduce staffing again to maintain a balanced budget and not erode conference reserves further.
The UCC Executive Committee and UCC Finance Committee voted on March 11, 2014 to reduce staffing levels in order to bring us to a balanced budget position. Please know this decision has not been taken lightly. Not only has UCC Administration been wrestling with this decision but we have also sought council from sister conferences, our union leadership and have invited participation from all our employees as well. We’ve taken time to meet with all our pastors and solicit feedback on how best to move forward. I’m deeply grateful to each person who has taken time to provide suggestions and cost-cutting ideas. Some valuable things have come to light as a result of this joint effort.
We’ve approached this decision with the specific goal of reducing costs while striving to minimize the impact on the mission of the church. The adjustment comes in the form of the elimination of three conference office positions, four pastoral positions and three teaching positions.
I want you to know how grateful I am for your continued faithfulness. Your daily ministry and your financial generosity is moving our mission forward. I am confident God can take our combined efforts and continue to reach hearts for His kingdom. It is becoming increasingly evident that Jesus is coming soon.
I invite your prayers as we work together to advance Christ’s mission here in the Upper Columbia Conference. I welcome your questions and feedback.
Grace and peace,
Paul Hoover, DMin
President, Upper Columbia Conference