2021 Year-End Benevolence Processing

As the year comes to an end, I want to encourage you to remit any amount remaining in your church’s Shared Mission pledge, Per Capita, or other benevolence payments for 2021. The General Assembly is allowing us a little extra time to submit payments for this fiscal year, so please forward all remaining 2021 contributions to the Presbytery office by Friday, January 14, and those contributions will be included in the 2021 records.

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 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 Shared Mission Pledge Request

Please watch your mailbox for the 2022 Shared Mission pledge request and Per Capita notice letter. These letters were mailed to the treasurer, Clerk of Session, and pastoral leader of each church. Please return the pledge card to this office at your earliest convenience.

We encourage each Session to thoughtfully consider our request. The information provided when a church returns their pledge card, no matter the response, is essential to our effective management of the presbytery’s financial resources. So, we urge treasurers, Clerks of Session, and pastoral leaders to make sure that their church has returned their pledge card to this office by January 31, 2022.

If you have any questions about mission pledge, Per Capita, or other benevolences, please let us know (304-744-7634, treasurer@wvpresbytery.org).

That Time of Year

It’s beginning to look a lot like…time to begin thinking about/working on next year’s budget. To help with this, we have a couple of resources available to help with your budget development process. First is an article for Church Law & Tax titled “Tips for a More Effective Church Budgeting Process.” It contains key points to remember to help your church have a more successful process and an effective budget that supports your church’s goals. Second is information on creating a narrative budget document. Instead of presenting a budget that has columns, numbers, and a list of line items, a narrative budget tells a story of how the various components of the budget contribute the congregation’s missions and ministries. Please let me know if you would like either or both of these resources.

This time of year, or anytime for that matter, is a good time to review your church’s insurance coverage. You should speak with your insurance agent and ask for a meeting to review the church’s current coverage. Church Law & Tax (CLT) has some helpful guidance for reviewing and/or changing the church’s insurance coverage. Another resource is CLT Senior Editor Richard Hammer’s article on the types of coverage he considers essential for all churches.

If the church’s current insurance provider is not a company that specializes in church insurance (UCC Insurance Board, Brotherhood Mutual, Church Mutual, etc.), I recommend you check with one of these companies. My experience has been that they can provide better coverage, usually at less cost. If interested, I have contact information for representatives of the three listed above.

Minister and Staff Appreciation/Christmas Gifts

As we approach the holiday season, Sessions and congregations will be contemplating an appreciation or Christmas gift to ministers and other church staff. It is important to remember if the gift comes from the church or passes through the church’s account(s), it is taxable income to the recipient. Here are some examples:

  • The Session decides to give the minister a Christmas bonus and directs the treasurer to write an extra check to the minister. This would be considered taxable income (and should include a S.E.C.A. adjustment).
  • A church takes an offering from the congregation for a Christmas gift to the minister. The treasurer deposits the offering into the church’s general fund and then writes a check from the church to the minister. This would be considered taxable income (and should include a S.E.C.A. adjustment).

If the gift passes directly from the donor to the minister, this would be considered a non-taxable gift. Changing the previous example, a church takes an offering from the congregation for a Christmas gift to the minister; the treasurer collects and counts the offering and then gives the offering directly to the minister. This would be considered a non-taxable gift. Please note, however, in this scenario, a gift to an individual is not a tax deductible charitable contribution.

It’s important to consider the tax implications of these heartfelt gestures for both the recipient and the giver.

Church Financial Leadership Grants Available

From the Presbyterian Foundation: Grants are available to assist pastors to attend continuing education opportunities, which will help them in leading their congregations toward financial and missional vitality. Click for more information. Church stewardship team members are encouraged to apply with their pastors. Download and complete the grant application. Grant applications may take up to four weeks to process.

The Presbyterian Foundation also has additional resources, tools, and other support to provide pastors and church leaders help “to address the financial and leadership challenges of congregational ministry and mission in the 21st century.”  We encourage you to visit their website to see what is available and how it may help your church.

From the Board of Pensions Connections Newsletter

Directors’ vote propels Assistance Program toward greater inclusivity
The Board of Directors approved the addition of Minister Debt Relief to the Assistance Program, expanded assistance eligibility, and increased grant amounts. All changes are effective January 1, 2022.

Minister Debt Relief is a three-year pilot program for ministers earning less than the median effective salary ($62,100 for 2022). Program applicants must be enrolled for Minister’s Choice or Pastor’s Participation. The program will provide 150 grants a year, for up to $10,000 each.

The agency also expanded eligibility for assistance grants. One example of this is Transition-to-College Assistance, income-based aid for dependents of active members of the Medical Plan or Defined Benefit Pension Plan. Currently, it is available only for students enrolled full-time in a four-year college or university. With the change, a student enrolled for any post-high school education or training, part-time or full-time, may be eligible.

Directors also loosened requirements for Income and Housing supplements, which provide valuable support to retirees and surviving spouses.

See more details on the Assistance Program expansion.

Christmas gifts going to retirees and surviving spouses
Directors approved the annual Christmas gift for retirees and surviving spouses who are receiving Housing and Income supplements from the Assistance Program as of November 1, 2021. Single recipients will receive $350 and couples $700. Last year, Directors approved a 40 percent increase in the Christmas gifts, the first increase since 2004. The annual gifts are always greatly appreciated, with many recipients saying they made Christmastime gift-giving possible.

2021 Special Offerings Calendar

Here is the calendar for the four churchwide Special Offerings of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), of which only one remains:

CHRISTMAS JOY: Nov. 28 to Dec. 19

A gift to the Christmas Joy Offering is distributed equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions, which provides assistance to current and retired church workers in their time of need, and to Presbyterian-related schools equipping communities of color by providing education and leadership development.

NOTE: Donations to these 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.