PASTORAL HOUSING CAMPAIGN
Dear Members and Friends of Saratoga Federated Church:
As you know, housing costs in our area can be an obstacle when the church is trying to recruit new pastors. Thus for the past 20 years or so, the church has found it necessary to invest substantial funds to enable our newly-hired pastors to afford a home. Most recently, in 2012 we entered into a shared-equity arrangement to purchase a home with the Gilliam family. With Gabe’s departure, the church has the option to buy out the Gilliam’s ownership of that property. If we decline this buyout option, the home will be sold on the open market and each party will receive their share of the proceeds. Time is of the essence as the Gilliam's ability to buy their next home is on hold until one or the other action is completed.
The property has more than doubled in value since we acquired it in 2012, so our equity stake is substantial. Buying the property would be a private party transaction, eliminating realtor fees. Additionally, if retained and used for church purposes, the property would be exempt from property taxes resulting in savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars during our average pastoral tenure. Finally, we believe that providing pastoral housing offers an attractive benefit in our attempts to recruit a new lead pastor and to meet the needs of future pastors.
For all of these reasons, and after much prayer and discussion, the Elder Council and the Foundation are seeking to purchase the Gilliam’s stake and retire the mortgage in their current home.
Proposal: We seek to raise $1,188,000 in a timely fashion so the Gilliam family can plan their next move. We are asking for commitments to this campaign by December 2, 2018. We hope to collect all of these commitments no later than January 31, 2019. Pledge cards are being mailed out to each household in our church. Information is also available on our website (www.saratogafederated.org) or by calling the church office at (408) 867-1000.
Benefits of a Parsonage: Much discussion among the Foundation team and among the Elders went into the decision to move forward with buying a parsonage. One major benefit, as expressed by search team members and several current pastors, is the benefit of having a known solution when offers are made. During previous searches, we have had prospective candidates turn us down due to cost and uncertainty of their housing solution. Another major benefit is that as a parsonage, the house would become exempt from property taxes thereby saving hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of the average pastor’s tenure. Additionally, when we own a home with no mortgage, we can effectively control our costs associated with that large aspect of pastoral compensation.
We know we are asking a lot of you and of God. We are praying your response will be clear and convincing evidence of his will in this matter. It is our commitment to set aside all funds raised through this campaign in a separate fund for pastoral housing. This will be true whether we raise less than, exactly, or more than $1,188,000. If we do not receive commitments totaling $1,188,000 by December 2, 2018 that are collectable by January 31, 2019, we will put the current co-owned home up for sale. Our proceeds from that sale, in addition to all funds raised through this campaign, will go into the Pastoral Housing Fund. We anticipate additional housing funds will be necessary when the time comes to replace retiring associate pastors in the future.
Before you pledge to this capital campaign, we would like to remind you we believe strongly that your first priority for church giving should be to “regular giving” which goes into the General Fund and is used to meet our annual operating expenses. For many the next priority is benevolent giving, including support for our special missionary offerings during the year, or other missions that you choose to support. Capital campaign giving should only be made after you have considered those two priorities. As with any capital campaign, we ask that each household give as they are able. This will mean larger gifts for some and smaller gifts for others, but every gift is meaningful in God’s economy. If two families each give 10% of our goal, four families give 5%, ten families give 2% and 20 families give 1%, we would be at 80% of our goal with the remaining families hopefully giving enough to equal the final 20%.
After prayerfully considering this matter, please return the enclosed pledge card in the offering plate or directly to the church office (Attention: Finance). Contributions should be marked to indicate Pastoral Housing. Gifts of stock or other appreciated property are also very welcome and might provide substantial tax savings for you. Those over age 70½ can donate their annual RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) directly to the church thereby avoiding tax on the distribution.
If you have any questions about this campaign, please contact one of the Elders or the Foundation.
The Elders: David Akers, Kelly Blough, Dan Byrne, Julie Cabrales, Barb Clark, Corky Davis, Nick Kepler, Joe Madden, Brian Penzel and Kathy Storton
The Foundation: Carl Agers, John Crawford, Terry Johnson, Ann Nash and Darlene Wood