An Interview With… Lou Lamberty
September 2 2020
Lou, our acting financial aficionado for years, is hanging up his clipboard after nearly two decades on the job. Before he officially retires, we thought we’d ask him a few questions.
Kerrie: When did you join First Central?
Lou: Pat and I joined the church is 1967.
Kerrie: Other than Finance Guy, have you held other roles in the church’s leadership?
Lou: I have chaired the Trustees and Music Committee at various times.
Kerrie: When did you start working with the finances? And why?
Lou: One sunny afternoon on Oct 18, 2004, (but who’s keeping track?) I received a distress call from our pastor, Winston Baldwin. “June just died,” he said, “what are we going to do?” He was referring to June Cook, our longtime financial secretary, who had fallen down some steps on the way back from lunch, hit her head and died. Winston was calling me because I was chair of the Trustees at the time. June was kind of secretive about her work, so no one really knew what she did, except that every month we got some financial reports. So, I called Gary McConnell who is an accountant and together we figured out how to count the money, pay the bills, operate the accounting software and produce reports. All was going well until Gary announced to me early in Dec that he and Kathy were leaving for their annual three months in Hawaii. Now I was stuck with the entire job myself and I’ve done it ever since.
Kerrie: That’s what happens around here when you’re good at something.
Can you tell me about a time when, as finance guy, that you thought the church was REALLY in trouble…. and how did it turn out?
Lou: The most recent that comes to mind was just a few years ago when you were moderator. We came very close to running out of cash and I went to the Church Council and urged them to quit spending. They complied, you wrote a masterful letter to the Congregation asking for year-end contributions, the congregation responded wonderfully and we actually ended the year in the black.
Kerrie: Wow, I remember that. But I had no idea that the situation was that dire.
Lou: Well, almost every year is a miracle. Our budget looks awful along about November, we send out a letter asking for year-end contributions and almost every year we end up in the black. But that year, for some reason, sticks in my mind as especially miraculous.
Kerrie: What are you most looking forward to now that you are transitioning out of this job?
Lou: I absolutely won’t lose any more sleep about church finances!
Kerrie: And speaking of the transition, who is going to be replacing you? Are you passing on the checkbook?
Lou: Bonnie Austin and Barb Switzer and working together to learn the software and the processes we’ve been using. I’m confident I’m leaving everything in exceptionally capable hands.