We have received many inquiries regarding two memorial services scheduled for later this week.
Here is the schedule as of today; and if you have any questions, please call the church office at 815-544-6402:
John F. Kemp
Visitation at Church on Wednesday (4-8 pm)
Memorial Service at Church on Thursday (11 am)
Sara K. Williams
Visitation at Buck-Wheeler FH on Thursday (5-8 pm)
Memorial Service at Church on Friday (11 am)
Certainly, the preceding is sobering; and as we praise the Lord for the eternal life for Sara and John and beg His mercies for family and friends, we differentiate the important from the incidental with greater firmness. I recommend clicking on www.koppdisclosure.com for more on that.
Speaking of sobering moments, these are tight financial times in our nation, counties, communities, and churches. As we praised God for the wherewithal to drain reserves to complete the first and biggest part of our "Blessings Campaign" with joy and anticipation and praise Him for continuing excitement, activity, expansion, and opportunity, our wherewithal for general expenses (viz., maintenance, utilities, bills, remuneration, etc.) is lagging. For example, while we still have reserved funds to meet designated ministries, today's general fund checking account for the aforementioned is $128.78.
Surely, we trust Him to supply the resources for our life and ministry together.
However, tough decisions are being made right now.
For example, we are now micro-managing daily expenses. No one - member, officer, or staff - is authorized to spend $ for anything unless it passes through a procedure under the review of Session; or as I told one fellah, "If you buy it apart from prior approval, be prepared to pay for it and not be reimbursed."
We are not in a panic mode.
We are doing quite well in this terribly difficult economic culture.
It's just that - despite the heroic stewardship of Carl, Dale, and Pat during the "Blessings Campaign" - there ain't much wiggle room anymore.
Surely, as our recent bathroom, playground, and pantry experiences illustrate, our family of faith is resilient, resourceful, and, most important, faithful.
Recently (8/15/12), I sent a confidential memo to our elders; and the time has come to share it with the whole family (slight editing):
Our last Session meeting was typical of the totally
awesome way our Lord is working through elders,
deacons, members, and staff to be a beacon for
Jesus and safe haven for all of His children on the
corner of Lincoln and Main.
Anyway, I would like to handle one item right now
before there is any more discussion/deliberation
on it: staff remuneration for 2013.
Our Finance and Personnel chairdudes, echoed by
almost everyone in attendance, lamented no increases
in remuneration for staff for the past four years and
expressed passion for doing something about it in
Their comments were affirming and affectionate and
We have made two remunerative adjustments in the
past year: a 20% increase for the DOMA at my
recommendation as figured out by Finance/Personnel
and 40% remunerative savings by reduction in calling
our new CE/Youth person. Everyone else has stayed
the same for the past four years; which is tantamount
to an actual decrease in remuneration juxtaposed to
the cost of living and so on.
As I told Session on Monday and will reiterate now, I
have already told staff there will be no remunerative
increases for 2013.
Deliberations regarding an accompanist for the
Chancel Choir and second service continue.
Now I'm going to say something that I decided
several months ago that I will not reconsider.
The pastor's remuneration - terms of call - are approved
upon recommendation of Finance/Personnel/Session by
the congregation. All other staff remunerative packages
are at the prerogative of Session and not subject to
congregational approval. Surely, the congregation can
comment; but Session approves and the congregation
receives that approval. Conversely, the Session can
recommend and comment on my remuneration; however,
the congregation approves the terms of call at its
prerogative at the annual meeting to receive reports and
the budget. Only the congregation has the right to approve
the terms of call.
The preceding is important as I want to make this completely
clear with enthusiasm and without equivocation. Under no
circumstances will I accept or entertain an increase to my
remuneration (terms of call) for 2013. I will declare any
motions to that effect to be out of order and such a moderator's
ruling can only be challenged and reversed by a 75% vote
of the congregation. Any recommendation from anyone to
increase the pastor's remuneration, therefore, will provoke
Parenthetically, I believe all other staff members must be
treated equally because they are all doing a great job -
percentage increases concomitant to current remuneration -
and, therefore, I will not inhibit increases for the rest of the
staff in 2013. That is Session's prerogative and I will not
Let me stress, again, that I will not accept and will use my
moderatorial prerogatives to prevent any increases for
While I still have a selfish covet in my life, that's between
God and me. I struggle with it daily; though it is related to
my evangelistic ministry, personal refreshment, and safety.
I submit to His will on that.
My call to our family of faith is unrelated to remuneration.
My call to our family of faith increases daily; and I am more
excited with more energy for our life and ministry together
for the next decade than I have been for the last one.
My wife and children will adjust with me as necessary.
Note this well because it is the passion that prompts this
inconvertible conclusion. I cannot accept an increase when
members of our family of faith are losing their homes, jobs,
cutting back in all areas of family life, and all of the rest with
no signs of relief on the horizon.
Granted, the stewardship of reserves/endowments despite
the best efforts of our friends contributes to our vigilance
and my decision that any increase in my remuneration
would appear selfish on my part and reckless on our part.
I apologize for the length of this note; but I felt it must be
said as completely and clearly as possible to prevent
I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am for the privilege
to be in life and ministry with you; and the aforementioned
only increases my joy and sense of vocational stability.
I am just scratching the surface of my relationship
with Jesus - personally and as your undershepherd -
and feel like our increasing intimacies with Him and His
are kinda like hanging onto the coattails of the Holy Sprit
for the greatest adventure this side of heaven.
Blessings and Love!
Again, in the spirit of John 3:19-21, I thought you should know.
Blessings and Love!