Wilshire conducted church business and heard a State of the Church Address from Senior Pastor Timothy Peoples at its Annual Church Conference on Jan. 21. The church approved revisions to Wilshire’s bylaws and approved a 2024 Unified Budget of $3,925,000.
Timothy spoke about the Hebrew word chalom, meaning dream, and said, “This year I want us to be looking deeply into the dreams of our congregation.” He recalled asking people to turn in answers to the question, “What do you need?,” and reported that “connection” was the most common answer. “Relationship is everything we do,” Timothy said. “So we’re going to work at building deeper relationships.”
Timothy challenged Wilshire to make itself more accessible to the differently abled and neurodivergent, saying we would learn from churches already doing this work.
He said we remain on track to relaunch the pastoral residency program in August, noting that we already have applicants. He also reminded congregants that Pathways to Ministry doesn’t refer only to the residency program but also includes interns, choral scholars and support for seminarians.
At one point Timothy showed a blank page in his presentation, saying “We’re going to be a church that leaves space for how the Spirit is moving and directing and leading us in ways that we cannot see or imagine.”
Highlights of 2023 cited by Timothy included strong participation in Sanctuary Choir and other music groups despite the minister of music transition; continued strength in mission activities; and a number of new members comparable to prepandemic years: 76.
Timothy and Director of Finance Lori Gooden recapped 2023 giving, which resulted in a surplus of $252,726, noting:
■ New member and prospect gifts totaled $104,551.
■ All age groups except one gave more than the previous year, with those 18 and younger giving $5,000 more.
■ Of 430 giving units in December, 67% were gifts in the $1 to $1,000 range.
■ Surplus funds from 2023 will be put into mission work, building reserve, the music transition and building and technology renovations.