Mother Church Reports Budget on Target
BOSTON — THE First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, said in a report to its members released yesterday that it had met its budget for the first six months of the fiscal year.
It said that expenses, including those of the Christian Science Publishing Society, which publishes the Monitor, are running about $3 million less than expected for the first half of the fiscal year. Church officials announced a $70 million budget at the start of the current fiscal year, which began May 1.
The report was a followup effort by church officials to inform members about church finances following serious losses last year from the church's cable-television venture, the Monitor Channel. The controversy sparked among members by the expense associated with the venture resulted in the fullest-ever disclosure of church finances at the church's annual meeting in June.
Treasurer John Selover said that the church realized a capital gain of $1.2 million in the $14.2 million sale of a cable-television satellite transponder, and that "individual contributions from church members and friends are higher than they were at this time last year." In addition, he said, the church has signed a letter of intent to sell WQTV, its Boston television station.
Mr. Selover reported that church operating expenses were $31.5 million in the first half of the fiscal year, $32 million less than the same period last year, when the Monitor Channel was operating. Last year's operating costs and capital expenses, excluding the costs of shutting down the Monitor Channel, were $150.5 million, he said.
"Through the first half of this year, total income from all sources was slightly below budget estimates," Selover said. "But, when this is counted against the expense savings ... we are in sound shape as we move into the second half of the year." Selover said that the church has "sufficient resources to meet its obligations," and that its pension reserve is "actuarially sound" and sufficient "to meet all pension obligations."
The report did not reveal details on the sale of WQTV. Al Carnesciali, manager of the publishing society, recently informed employees that other equipment left after the shutdown of the Monitor Channel will be sold at public auction Dec. 8.
Church officials did not comment further on the report.