2023 PWV Budget

At the Stated Meeting of the Presbytery on August 18, the 2023 budget was approved. Due to an oversight on my part, the proposed budget that was included in the meeting packet was not the correct version. I verbally corrected the incorrect amounts during the budget presentation and prior to voting: budget funding from Per Capita, Prior Year Shared Mission & Per Capita, and Interest & Gifts. The final, approved 2023 budget can be found here and is available in the Financial Documents section of the Documents page.

Sending Benevolence to the Presbytery

At the Called Meeting of the Presbytery on August 4, an offer to buy the Presbytery’s office building was accepted. The schedule for the closing of the office and staff moving to a remote office setting is still being finalized. Until then, please continue to mail benevolence checks to the current address: 520 Second Ave., South Charleston, WV 25303. We will get word out once the new arrangements for receiving and processing mail are in place.

News from the Board of Pensions

1. It’s time for employers to select benefits for 2023

Employers have from August 8 through October 7 to create their 2023 employer agreement, which lists the benefits available to their employees for 2023. This is an employer’s opportunity to review and change the benefits offered beginning January 1, 2023. The selections made on the employer agreement will determine the options available to employees during annual enrollment this fall. More information is available here.

2. Pastor’s Participation medical dues increasing for 2023

The Directors of the Board of Pensions approved an increase in Pastor’s Participation dues for the first time in five years. Effective January 1, 2023, medical dues will increase 2 percent, from 27 percent to 29 percent. As a result, total dues for the benefits package will be 39 percent, up from 37 percent. Directors raised the cap on the maximum annual dues amount by $1,500, from $33,500 to $35,000, and on the minimum annual dues amount by $500, from $11,000 to $11,500.

The vote to increase dues followed a review of cost forecasts by Milliman Inc., the agency’s medical actuarial counsel. Healthcare costs spiked in 2021 as medical costs continued to climb and healthcare use increased following the coronavirus crisis.  In summarizing actions taken at General Assembly, the Reverend Dr. Frank Clark Spencer, agency President, discussed specific requests directed to the Board concerning parity of medical dues and affordability for small congregations, particularly within communities of color. He affirmed the need for ongoing evaluation and assessment of existing benefits structures that may not best serve an evolving denomination. And he reiterated the Board of Pensions’ commitment to providing affordability and flexibility in its benefits and to eliminating plan designs that perpetuate disparities and inequities.

3. Assistance Program Resources

From the Rev. Dr. Douglas Portz, Senior Church Consultant:

As you may have recently seen, the Assistance Program of The Board of Pensions provides support to all eligible members enrolled in the Benefits Plan. This includes not only ministers but also all lay staff enrolled in the plan, too. The Board is committed to providing all who serve the Church with access to these opportunities to support wholeness. We’ve expanded access to meet the growing needs and diversity of the Church, and introduced a new grant this year – Minister Debt Relief. If you know someone on your staff who might need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me to set up a time to discuss eligibility guidelines and how to apply for a grant.

You also may have recently seen that federal student loan borrowers may receive credit for past periods of repayment that would not have qualified for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Ministers enrolled in the Benefits Plan may visit the EdAssist page for more information.

New 2022 IRS Standard Mileage

On June 9, the IRS announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate for the final six months of 2022. Starting July 1 through December 31, the standard mileage rate for the business use of employees’ vehicles will be 62.5 cents, an increase of four cents from 58.5 cents that was originally announced for 2022. This rate of 62.5 is the highest rate the IRS has ever published. This new rate will be for business-related mileage starting on July 1. Business-related mileage driven in June will still be reimbursed at 58.5 cents, even if the reimbursement request is submitted in July.

The rates for deductible medical travel and moving expenses for active-duty members of the military will also increase four cents from 18 cents per mile to 22 cents per mile. The mileage rate for charitable use of an automobile will remain at 14 cents per mile, as it is fixed by law and not subject to adjustments for inflation.

Adjusting Minister Housing Allowance

Ministers always request their Housing Allowance designation late in the previous year or early in the current year. However, housing expenses for 2022 have substantially increased since then. Also, on June 15, the Federal Reserve increased their base interest rate by 75 basis points (.75%). This will have an effect on all interest rates. So, adjustable or variable mortgages rates soon will be increasing. For ministers affected by these increases in housing costs, there is good news. Ministers can amend their Housing Allowance at any time if there is a significant change in their housing costs. The change in Housing Allowance must be based on the new housing costs and will be effective from the next issue of pay until year-end. The minister and their Session just need to follow the same process as setting the designation at the start of the year.

Are internal controls necessary?

Here is recent article from Vickey Boatright Richardson at FreeChurchAccounting.com:

I was asked the other day if internal controls are necessary for a small church that only has one volunteer doing their books. My reply was a resounding YES! Sadly, I continue to see and hear reports of even small churches and nonprofit organizations being hurt because someone misused or stole funds meant for good.

One of the most important internal controls you can put in place is not letting one person have access to “everything” (the collection, recording, and spending). Even if you are a small organization and don’t have but one person to do everything, you can put some controls in place, such as hiring an outside bookkeeping firm to at least reconcile the accounts and look over your accounting file.

In fact, that is my number one tip! Make sure someone other than the ones recording or spending the funds reconciles the bank and credit card accounts EVERY MONTH!

I have several resources and more information on best practices for church treasury functions and internal controls/separation of duties that I would be happy to provide.

Stewardship Kaleidoscope: Sept. 26-28

Registration is open for this year’s Stewardship Kaleidoscope, featuring more than 30 workshops spanning theology, practical stewardship planning, creative ventures, and legacy programming. Register and explore stewardship in its many colorful dimensions!

2022 Per Capita

The 2022 Per Capita rate is $30.05 per member, according to the church’s membership in the most recently file statistical report. The 2022 Per Capita was approved at the August 2021 presbytery meeting. With the total rate at $30.05 per member, the Presbytery of West Virginia will keep $18.67, sending $8.98 and $2.40 to the General Assembly and Synod of the Trinity, respectively.

Helping us understand the importance of Per Capita to our connectional church is this excellent article, titled (coincidentally enough) “Understanding Per Capita,” in a recent issue of Presbyterians Today.

2022 Special Offerings Calendar

Here is this year’s calendar for the four churchwide Special Offerings of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), of which two remain.

PEACE & GLOBAL WITNESS: Sept. 4 to Oct. 2

CHRISTMAS JOY: Nov. 27 to Dec. 18

NOTE: Donations to the four Special Offerings are accepted at any time. The dates above are for times of special emphasis on the offerings. Click here for more information or to order resources, or call the PC(USA) Store at 800-533-4371.