RMCNews  – Denver, Colorado … In their final 2020 meeting, December 8, the RMC Executive Committee reviewed church finances and approved the 2021 preliminary budget.

The October YTD financial report was presented by George Crumley, RMC VP for finance, who shared “how even with COVID, the Conference is only down roughly .5% on base tithe after adjusting for the extra Sabbath this year.”

Additionally, Crumley continued, “because of lower expenses and special assistance from the North American Division and the Mid-American Union Conference, we are actually tracking better than the 2020 budget had estimated for this time of the year.” He expressed gratitude to God for the “faithful support of our members in returning their tithes and offerings during these challenging times.”

“God has really blessed His church,” commented Ed Barnett, RMC president. In his President’s Report, he shared a number of missional activities and outreach challenges in the Conference, among them the evangelistic outreach of the Campion Church by placing a church plant in the Johnstown area. He remarked that though the number of baptisms is down, in line with the entire Mid-America Union, Mike Maldonado at Colorado Springs Central has welcomed 35 new members through baptism this year.

Crumley presented the Preliminary 2021 Budget, which was voted by the Committee. The budget projected a 1% lower tithe for 2021 and makes no provision for a July 1 cost-of-living pay increase next year. “Additionally, we budgeted lower income for Glacier View Ranch and the Summer Camp program not knowing the impact COVID would have by then. Because of the uncertainty of next year, we did rely on $119,000 of this year’s potential earnings to bring the budget into balance. Of course, we will take another look at this when we have ended the year and [will] present the Revised 2021 Budget,” Crumley said.

Roy Ryan, chair of our Audit Review Committee, presented a report stating that “for 2019, the conference had an Unmodified Opinion, which is the best opinion you can get. The Conference is in good financial health and being operated in a very responsible manner,” he commented.

COVID’s impact on RMC was reviewed by Eric Nelson, VP for administration. He shared that more than 10 pastors, three staff members in the office and a number of members have contracted the virus. “The virus is having an impact on the health of our members,” he said. Lonnie Hetterle, RMC education superintendent reported on how teachers are dealing with pandemic conditions, often switching between in-person and virtual classes. “’Adaptability’ is the key word. Most of our schools have had to adapts to teaching by distance learning for a day or a week due to the COVID tests impacting their students,” Hetterle, who is retiring at the end of the year, explained.

“All parents, teachers and students want to be in school. So, there are stringent guidelines being followed to be as safe as possible,” he added.

Eric Nelson informed the Committee of pastoral placements, elated to open districts. Geoff Patterson will begin in January 2021 as Boulder’s Senior Pastor. He comes from Forest Lake church in Florida, where he has been senior pastor. Bill Nixon began pastoring in Cheyenne in November after coming from Minnesota where he pastored five churches. As of this month, Godfrey Miranda assumes the pastorate of the Fort Collins congregation. He has been in RMC for the past four years. Two districts are still open–Castle Rock, Colorado Springs South, and Woodland Park, as well as the Golden, Denver West, and Lakewood Fellowship district. Pastor David Martinez returned to Castle Rock as chaplain.

Following the announcement of the retirement of Lonnie Hetterle, who has served more than 25 years in RMC and 20 years in the Office of Education, the Committee voted to appoint Diane Harris as RMC education director. She has served as assistant director of education in RMC for almost 20 years.

“Lonnie Hetterle has been a real blessing for the Rocky Mountain Conference as our superintendent of education. After twenty years in that position, he has decided to retire the end of the month. He will be missed by all,” said Ed Barnett.   

He also commented on the Committee’s vote to appoint Diane Harris as RMC director of education. “She has been the associate for the last twenty years. We welcome her happily as she steps up as our new superintendent as of the first of January,” Barnett added.