Bird stretching one leg out to reach a stem while holding onto another stem with the other leg behind him.

  2020 Year End Message  

A Special Message from

Rev. Amani Malaika, Senior Minister

For the love of all things holy! This last year has been straight up bananas and I can not express in words how grateful I am that we met all the challenge, loss, fear, and unknowns together. We may have lost the ability to be "in-person" but we've been in Spirit together all along the way. We rock!


Your generosity, willingness, and devotion to your spiritual path and ours as a community is one of the most beautiful gifts I've received this year. THANK YOU!


I've learned so much, the staff and leadership have learned so much on this bumpy ride. I am excited and honored to take all of what we've learned into our next greatest becoming. It will take all of us to keep transforming lives and communities. It will take all of our hearts, our hands, and feet to Live One in Spirit, Live With Purpose, and Transform the World.


If you have not already renewed your financial giving commitment or you are ready to make a sustaining financial commitment, please do.  Make a new commitment HERE (so we know what to expect when for budget purposes) and set up the actual new sustaining (recurring) gift HERE.  Here is how to modify an existing sustaining gift:

  1. Log into Breeze and Click on "Give Now" > "Recurring Gifts" (on the left)

  2. Click "change" next to the recurring gift you wish to update

  3. Click "Show More Options"

  4. Click "Change" next to the section you'd like to modify and make your desired changes.


Our incredible treasurer, Cliff Wintrode has put together one of the best year end financial reports I have ever seen and I encourage you to read the whole thing. it's absolute inspiration!


I thank you to the moon and back for all of your support, we are something special and indestructible together.


Rev. Amani

2020 Treasurer's Report

Cliff Wintrode, Treasurer

ABQ CSL Leadership Council

Executive Summary 


The Center succeeded in 2020 where many New Thought communities were not able to do so.

The Center's values and its offering of a spiritual pathway geared to the individual's journey and the promise of a caring community based on radical inclusion and a welcome to all not surprisingly resonated with people in a year of wrenching change. 


Answering the question of who do we choose to be in 2021 as we hold true to our mission and vision will require the assumption of some risk yet the peril of trying to hold on to what was is far greater. 


The Center is bigger than what we imagined before. 


The Center grew big enough to see the pandemic from a perspective larger than itself and acknowledge the disparate effects of the pandemic among people of color and all those without adequate access to health care. 


The Center chose to participate in the ongoing racial reckoning in our country and initiate conversations and self-assessments within the Center community that had never before occurred. Those conversations are continuing in 2021. 


2020 Financial and Operational Metrics

  • The Center achieved 103% of its revenue goal of $340,000

  • Expenditures for the year were $325,500 or $13,500 less than the $339,000 budget

  • Almost $24,000 of funds from the 2020 matching campaign are being carried over to 2021 where those funds will support the 2021 key initiatives outlined in the next section

  • Included in 2020 revenues was more than $21,000 in Paycheck Protection Program funds

  • The Center community donated more than $7,000 to provide cash assistance grants to community members who were struggling with the economic effects of the pandemic

  • The diversity of skills and talents within the Center community is enabling the Center to pursue a robust growth and engagement strategy utilizing online outlets and technology.

  • The Center's online content is reaching people in more states and more countries than pre­-COVID

  • Part time staffing was added in Q4 to bolster Pathway Content production

  • Center leadership by Q4 reached a consensus decision that the long term sustainability of the Center was going to require a bold move in 2021 including the addition of staff and a realignment of roles and responsibilities

2021 Key Initiatives 

The 2021 organizational restructure and budget that our Leadership Council approved at its December monthly meeting represents a radical rethinking of how the Center functions and at the same time is an investment in the Center's long-term organizational and financial sustainability. The alternative of staying put and continuing along the well-trodden path of the church model is seen as resulting in an inevitable leaking of members and financial support. The new organizational chart can be found after this report. 

2021 Priorities and Strategy

  • Produce high quality inspirational video and audio content

  • Implement best practices across all online outlets

  • Develop and implement online marketing strategy culminating in the critical online /social media campaign sometime in 2021 seeking to grow the sustainer donor base by 100 new members.

  • Continue CirclesABQ pre-launch work

  • Soft launch of first CirclesABQ group

  • Citywide marketing and launch of CirclesABQ

  • Increase online reach

  • Implement updated Engagement strategy

  • Add new "front door" (gateway/ introduction) to the Center through CirclesABQ launch

  • People and funding will be allocated in support of these priorities


Roles and responsibilities are being shifted and two new employee positions - Program Coordinator and Center Manager- will be created providing there is sufficient funding.

  • The Program Coordinator position will manage Spirit Groups and Circles ABQ

  • The Center Manager position will assume operational responsibilities including facility management and budget and accounting and policies and procedures.


The monthly expenditure budget will increase to $28,000 from $26,000 beginning in January with a bump up to $30,000 by July provided there are sufficient revenues.

  • The first bump to $28,000 monthly will fund the half time program coordinator position

  • The second bump to $30,000 monthly will fund the Center Manager position at three days a week or a .6 FTE.


The revenue path to a $340,000 annual budget which is $28,000 monthly is comprised of

  • Donations - $260,000

  • Supplemental Fund Raising Campaign - $65,000

  • Other Revenues - $15,000

  • An increase to a $30,000 monthly budget would require an increase in donations

2021 Challenge 

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud

was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Anais Nin, French/ Cuban/ American essayist 


Remaining in the bud so to speak - staying put and continuing along the well-trodden path of the church model - is seen as resulting in an inevitable leaking of members and financial support. 

The Center was experiencing organizational and financial pressures even before Covid-19 exacerbated already existing challenges to the Center's long-term sustainability. 

The Center in 2021 will continue to invest resources in possibilities, in what could be, rather than trying to maintain what was and what right now cannot be. 

The only way forward is through it. There is still a pathway of transformation and the mission and the vision have not changed. It is the methods by which the mission and the vision are fulfilled that must change.


  • Spirit in Me is represented by digital inspirational content and spirit calling

  • Spirit as Me is represented by Spirit Groups, accredited education, Soul Care and monetized content

  • Spirit through Me is represented by social uplift activities, CirclesABQ, volunteering and giving.

All the parts are still there. Some of the pieces just look a bit different.

The changing organizational chart and the shifting of roles and responsibilities has the Center looking like a startup with three main areas of responsibility - Marketing, Product Development and Finance/Facility. 

  • Marketing/ Communication would be headed by Lisa Taj

  • Jeff would head Product Development

  • The Center Manager hire would head Finance and Facility. The finance responsibilities would be pulled from Lisa Ta} and the facility management responsibilities would be pulled from Jeff. While this position will begin as a three day a week or .6 FTE position, this position can be expected over time to transition to a full time position as the campus reopens for use.

  • Resources would be allocated to the production of Pathway Content

Rev. Amani stated the challenge as unbuttoning ourselves from this church model that we have not wholly embraced. 

Unbuttoning suggests an intentional and deliberate process where the goal of becoming unbuttoned occurs over time and retains flexibility to allow for changing circumstances. 

What is this church model from which we are intending to unbutton? 

  • Risk averse

  • Heavy reliance on attendance at Sunday services for funding and engagement/ relevance

  • Allocating resources predominantly to Sunday services

  • Insular

  • Technologically challenged

While there is a playbook for the traditional church model, there is no playbook for how to unbutton from the model. 

Unbuttoning though is seen as essential despite the risks for the long term organizational and financial sustainability of the Center. 

If there are risks worth taking, there must also be rewards that are within our grasp to achieve. 

The Center's messaging offers support to people wherever and how wide they draw their circle of compassion, care and concern. 

As Kenneth Winfrey put it, people will gravitate to a message that encourages the locus of power to reside closer to them. 

There is a receptive audience of older people who have had experiences with Christian churches that have not been life affirming and the 60% of Gen X / Millennials that were not raised with a religious experience. 

The Center's offer of radical inclusion and a caring community can slice through many silos of isolation. 

Amanda Gorman expressed the truth of the blossom in the stunning poem she wrote and read at Joe Biden's inauguration. 

The final lines from The Hill We Climb 


When day comes we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid 

The new dawn blooms as we free it 
For there is always light, 
if only we're brave enough to see it 
If only we're brave enough to be it 

2020 Financial Recap 

The calendar year 2020 financial results exceeded expectations by achieving a minimal positive net income for the year and a significant amount of carryover to 2021 of unused 2020 matching campaign funds. 

The revenue goal of $340,000 was exceeded by more than $9,500 while expenditures were less than budget by almost $13,500 allowing for a carryover of almost $24,000 of unused 2020 matching campaign revenues while recording a minimal positive net income for the year of $120. 

Rev. Amani and her staff clearly did an excellent job of managing expenses. 

The difficulty with managing expenses in 2020 was balancing cost savings with a duty of care to those people who were behind and sometimes in front of the curtain dedicating their time and energy and talents to creating each individual's felt experience of the Center. 

The initial monthly expenditure budget for 2020 was $30,000 representing an increase of $6,000 over the final monthly budget for 2019. The additional $6,000 was the cost to reverse the pay cuts that were in place and make Jeff MacNutt and Lisa Taj McCellon full time rather than half time employees. 

Onsite Sunday services ceased in the middle of March. 

The Center leadership made the decisions to continue with a live band for the online Sunday service and to continue to pay the community members who had provided the support services each week necessary to produce an onsite service - sound and lighting, audio-visual, childcare and hospitality. 

Financial considerations led to both of these decisions being reversed as of July 1 with the monthly budget reduced to $26,000. 

The on line Sunday service now features once a month prerecorded band music and payments to contractors for Sunday support services have ceased. 

The components of the 2020 revenue budget with a comparison to actual is shown below 

  • Donations other than the matching campaign, budgeted at $250,000 and $255,000 was received

  • Matching campaign, budgeted at $50,000 and $50,546 was received

  • Other revenues, primarily rental revenues (through March) and tuition, budgeted at$20,000 and $22,500 was received

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds made available under the Cares Act legislation in response to COVID-19, budgeted at $20,000 and $21,369 was received

2020 Financial data charts follow. 

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