Posted on October 3, 2017 by Linda Enkema
That’s the kind of dramatic headline that gets our attention these days, although we might ask, “What kind of a person has a name like Presbytery?”
The headline is correct, though, except the Presbytery mentioned was drowning in red ink, not water and is not a person but a group of Seattle-area Presbyterian churches, including BelPres. The member churches meet on a regular basis, worship together, enjoy community, encourage outreach and mission, and come alongside one another in various ways.
How did our Presbytery survive red ink?
I’d like to tell you a true story of the behind-the-scenes service of long time BelPres member Bob Wallace.
Back to our Presbytery. Nine years ago, there were a number of local Presbyterian churches (about five) that had closed over the years due to low attendance. The Seattle Presbytery, which owned the properties, was managing them and was losing about $100,000 each year in doing so. At that time, Scott Lumsden, the new Presbytery Executive (“CEO” of our presbytery), and Bob Wallace became acquainted. They realized together that Bob could be of great assistance because of his extensive commercial real estate experience in his business.
Bob became Co-Moderator of the Presbytery’s Property and Finance Committee and also coached Scott Lumsden in both property management and finance. Scott recalls many sessions with Bob about whether to sell or lease a property, and Scott learned how to manage these properties effectively. Bob always insisted that they have a plan for the funds that would come. According to Scott, Bob would “hold our feet to the fire” concerning good planning, patiently teaching along the way. Scott added “the other members of Property and Finance Committee also did a lot of work. However, Bob is one of the main reasons why Seattle Presbytery has turned the corner financially.”