God has blessed the Victorian Conference yet again in 2018, with increasing membership in our churches, increased tithe and giving, increased enrolment in our schools, and refocused management of our aged care.
Church membership has increased by 166 members from 2017 to 2018, with membership increasing in 49 of our churches and companies.
Offerings and Tithe – Giving has also increased in 2018 for tithe and world missions (including sabbath school) but it is interesting to note that across the Victorian Conference, giving to local church offerings has dropped by approximately 39% in 2018.
A strategic focus for the Conference during 2018 and 2019 has been evangelism, providing resources for local church evangelism and for major Mission to the Cities events in Mornington Peninsular, Gateway Lighthouse and Harvest Victoria.
Our tithe this year reached $15.7 million which has provided funding for 117 employees in local churches as pastors, lay ministers, bible workers and youth pastoral workers, provided the financial support of administrative and departmental ministries, funded our 2018 camp program, supported education and funded compliance requirements such as AdSAFE and OH&S functions within our organisation.
With our membership increasing and the average tithe per member increasing to $1,601 per year, we sense that more Victorians are returning more tithe and we thank every one of you for your faithfulness.
While the Conference only budgeted on a very small surplus for 2018 it is my pleasure to report that with an increase in tithe and careful control on expenditure, the Conference ended 2018 with a surplus of $650,000
Education – Today we see a thriving, growing education system in Victoria.
We have seen growth in enrolments, investment in capital and infrastructure, increased support from our churches through education offerings, increased investment in chaplaincy, focus on growing our schools through early learning centres and a view to continuing to look for strategic opportunities to plant new schools.
2018 – Enrolment increased to 2,417 students, and this year has already increased further to 2572 students. Five years ago (2013) only two out of eight schools and early learning centres operated in surplus with the rest running deficits – our deficit was $565,000. Enrolment was 1882 students at the time.
By the end of last year our school system operated with five of our school entities generating a surplus and a total system surplus of $765,000.
AdventCare – The current financial year for AdventCare 2018/19 is financially challenging. While the independent living unit sector of our aged care company is generating a surplus, the residential care sector has not achieved that same level of success. Occupancy is high in our facilities, however there are some significant factors that have impacted overall operations.
At Warburton the renovation works took much longer than expected and budgeted for and occupancy was delayed. Our facility at Warburton however is one that we can be proud of. The renovation works have been completed to a high standard, modernising the facility, which in turn places it as a retirement residence of choice for many in that community. Plans are now well underway to construct additional independent living units at the Warburton site as well.Both our facilities rely heavily on government subsidies to residential aged care providers to care for the residents. Funding is provided according to individual care needs, ranging from low to high subsidy. Currently both facilities are being funded below the average ACFI subsidy level (as determined by Stewart Brown accountants) which is having a huge financial impact. Our management teams are working hard to lift our ACFI funding levels, managed through admissions and ongoing resident care monitoring.
There is currently a masterplan in place to undertake capital works to expand the number of beds in our Whitehorse residential care facility. This will help to deliver economies of scale and enhance profitability.
In 2017/2018 AdventCare had an operating surplus of $360,475. This current financial year, ending June 30 2019, we are budgeting for a surplus of $190,351 however are struggling to achieve that, with our latest operating report indicating we are approximately $178,000 behind budget.
Despite the financial difficulties with our Aged Care company we have received many positive reports from residents, staff, families and the agencies we deal with.
The leadership teams for each of our companies regularly pray for God’s leading, that He will give wisdom to handle difficult situations, that we will do His will and for help to achieve the mission and vision we have for our churches, schools, and aged care in our Victorian Conference.
Chief Financial Officer