Annual 2016 Meeting Recap

On Sunday, June 5, 2016, the congregation gathered together with enthusiasm to learn about the current state of the church and its continued success in the future. President Jenny Harrits welcomed the 138 members of the congregation in attendance and thanked them for demonstrating their interest in, and support of, the ministries of Shepherd of the Valley. She then led the assembly in an opening prayer.

President’s Report

Jenny focused her President’s Report on how SOTV has been living into its Vision and Mission, and the year-ling emphasis on “Welcome.” The video below was shown to the assembly, highlighting events and programs from the past year.

Jenny reviewed some plans for the coming year’s emphasis on Transformation.  In the fall, a series of sermons will describe the meaning of transformation and how it plays a role in our lives as Christians. The lectionary for services will include Biblical references to transformation.  There will be three forums during the year that highlight transformational experiences and testimonials will be shared by SOTV members throughout the year in various ways.

Jenny provided an update on the process involved in calling a senior pastor for SOTV.  She said there is no announcement, at this time, concerning a selected candidate.  However, it was reported that two candidates have now taken part in a third, expanded interview session, and discussions and discernment will continue in the coming weeks, and the committee asks members to support them with their prayers.

Vice President’s Report

Vice President Paul Keller acknowledged the great leadership of Pastors Randy Brandt and Duane Paetznick and the amazing dedication and service of the interim pastors, Ron Olson, Maggie Novak, and Wendy Steger. Paul thanked the members of our many leadership teams for their work, and described the new Send Team being formed this year. Paul gave a special tribute to Troy Nelson for his 12 years of service on the Finance Team, and eight years as Council Treasurer.

Paul reminded the members that Shepherd of the Valley is one of the larger ELCA congregations, nationally. He said this means we rely on a staff of people that are very committed to the many programs and ministries, often providing extra inspired effort.  Paul added that the staff cannot meet all the demands of the ministries without a deep concentration of volunteers. All of the SOTV programs are magnificently supported by the time, effort, talents, resources and gifts of a large group of volunteers.

Treasurer’s Report

A balanced budget for 2016-17 was presented by Treasurer Troy Nelson. He stated that the beginning General Fund balance this past year was $614,745. The adopted budget showed in income of $2,498,000, and expenses of 2,670,000, resulting in a predicted deficit of $172,000.

Troy said SOTV is completing the current fiscal year quite differently from the adopted budget, due in part to some open personnel positions. On the basis of income to date, the projected total for this fiscal year is $2,429,517.  On the basis of the current total expenses, the projected balance of the General Fund will be $631,986, which is $17,241 more than the balance at the beginning of the year.

Troy stated that the message shared at last year’s meeting was that SOTV needs to adopt a balanced budget for fiscal year 2016-2017. He said considerable work this past year by an Advisory Team working with the administration, H.R., the Finance Team, the staff, and the council, resulted in the balanced budget now being recommended for approval. The budget uses the same projected income for the current year, $2,498,574. To balance the budget, projected personnel expense was adjusted by reallocating hours and duties, in some cases to cover vacated positions. 

Troy directed attention to the Capital Fund, which receives Capital Campaign gifts, along with gifts designated for the Building Fund. Troy expressed his gratitude that $966,420 has already been gifted. He said at this rate, SOTV should have its mortgage paid in full by December of 2020, saving about $1,900,000 in interest. Though there is no way to predict the amount or timing of campaign gifts, Troy said $902,300 is the planned income for the Capital Fund.  He said all of this income will be spent according to the allocation determined by the council each month. Currently, 80% of the funds are applied to debt reduction, 15% to building and facilities, and 5% to Benevolence for outreach. 

Election of Council Members

Katie Ellis, Michael Schaeffer, and Paula Swiggum were elected to the three open council positions for the coming year.  All candidates for council membership have gone through the nomination process by completing an application, reviewed and approved by the Nominations Team.  New officers were also elected: Paul Keller, President; Michael Kelly, Vice President;  and Michael Schaeffer, Treasurer. Jenny Harrits will serve in the Past President position.

After answering several questions posed by members present, the meeting was adjourned.

The complete official minutes and related documents are available on our Council page. Please direct any remaining questions to

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