Conference Communications Commission to buy 28 computers for local churches
The concept was this: equip every local church in the California-Nevada Conference with basic office communications equipment – the kinds of things most of us take for granted. The means? A grants program, funded through a combination of designated money and dollars pinched from the Communications budget, to be administered by the Conference Communications Commission.
The commission announced the new program at Annual Conference Session in June. The following month, applications began trickling in – reached a steady stream by September – and constituted a flood in the final month. By the November 1 deadline the commission had 49 applications to consider, representing all districts and coming from churches of varying sizes.
It wasn’t possible to fund them all. Some, said the Rev. Ardith Allread, commission chairwoman, were “beyond the scope of what the commission could do, or said it would do.” But when it met on November 8 the group did its best to stretch its $25,000 budget, carefully considering each request, evaluating and re-evaluating and eventually arriving at what it believes to be the most equitable distribution of funds to achieve the “biggest bang for its buck.”
The commission is recommending the purchase of a new computer for 28* churches; a printer, for two others; that another six receive an outright cash grant (amounts vary) to provide Internet service or a telephone answering machine; and that three churches be offered grants of $500 each in matching funds. Only nine requests were eliminated from consideration for funding at this time.
*(In one case two yoked churches applied. The commission recommends that one computer be purchased, with the decision as to which of the churches receives it being left to the pastor.)
As challenging as it was to stretch the funds available, commission members were exhilarated by the process. Allread spoke for all in saying, “It has been so exciting for us to be able to make these grants and to help so many congregations come up to speed!”
The commission will make personal contact by Dec. 15 with each church that applied to review the church’s request and the commission’s recommendation. In some cases churches requested certain types/brands of equipment – and since the commission plans to purchase the computers and printers in bulk in order to negotiate the best price, it won’t be possible to honor those very specific requests.
It is planned that the Local Church Equipment Grants program will be an ongoing one, with the commission able to meet additional needs in 2009.