New Payroll Rules - Fair Labor Standards Act

Ross Williams

October 03, 2016

Chances are your church has someone other than the pastor on payroll, so you need to be aware of new Department of Labor (DOL) rules and guidelines that will become effective on December 1, 2016.  The new regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) strengthen overtime and wage protection for workers by raising the salary level for "Exempt" employees from the prior amount of $455 per week ($23,660/year) to $913 per week ($47,476/year).  Churches will therefore want to look carefully at ...

2017 Budget Inputs

Ross Williams

September 27, 2016

Dear Treasurers and Finance Chairs (copy to pastors), You will most likely be working on your 2017 budgets soon.  To assist you, listed below are some inputs from the Conference: Clergy Healthcare: The uniform rate for HealthFlex will be $16,104.00. Of this amount, $14,808.00 will be billed to the church and $1,296 will be billed to the pastor. Clergy Pension: (see attached worksheet) The cost will remain 11.8% of total compensation, which is defined as base salary plus either a) 25% of salary ...

Enriching Theological Education at Cambine Theological Seminary

September 27, 2016

by Julio Andre Vilanculos The Cambine Mission in Mozambique, located northwest of Maxixe in Inhambane Province, is more than 100 years old. Methodist missionaries seeking a place to build a hospital, church, and school were given Cambine as a gift from a tribal king in 1890. He asked the missionaries, “Do you come for peace?” That king, who is buried on the Cambine grounds, was the great-great-grandfather of João Somane Machado, who served as bishop for the UMC in Mozambique from 1988 to 2008.  ...

Message by Dorcas Samantha Ewoodzie, Missionary in Kenya

September 27, 2016

Most churches in Africa were initiated by missionaries who relied on financial support from sister churches in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The churches and institutions belonged to the various denominations that established them. Indigenous people did not consider themselves as the owners of these churches. This perspective created a dependence on foreign funding, entirely.  More...  

AIEM Housing Allowances

Ross Williams

September 20, 2016

Dear Clergy on Appointment in Extension Ministries, We want to ensure that you understand and take advantage of an important tax benefit available to ordained clergy.  Please read the information below on how to set up a housing exclusion so that a portion of your income can be treated as tax-free for federal, state and local purposes.  While you may not be currently serving a “church”, you can still qualify for this favorable tax treatment subject to the rules below.  The most important rule is...

Clergy Housing Allowances

Ross Williams

September 19, 2016

Dear Clergy and Church Finance Leaders: The topic of clergy “Housing Allowances” can be a complicated one, involving specific rules and confusing terminology.  It is also an area that requires action prior to the processing of payroll each year.  So what follows is a summary based upon the many questions that I receive on this topic. The Basics: 1. Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code permits a “minister of the gospel” to exclude a “Housing Allowance” from income. This Housing Allowance can ...

Living in the Now Can be a Gift

Jim Stinson, Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

September 15, 2016

Alive Now, published by The Upper Room—a ministry of the United Methodist Church—is one magazine my wife, Barbara, and I enjoy. When reading it the other night I found my mind wandering from the writings themselves to the title, Alive Now. Who thought of the name?  What is its origin? Did the title decide the purpose of the magazine or did the name come first, helping to decide its direction? I have been playing with the words and discovered how many times they have come from my lips. I can’t ...

Did You Receive Your Free Money For Ministry?

Ross Williams

September 06, 2016

Dear Treasurers and Finance Chairs (copy to Pastors), You may or may not be aware that churches are entitled to government refunds if they have incurred costs related to Healthcare for their employees.  One church in our Conference recently received a refund of $15,356.  In total, refunds received for churches in our Conference now exceed $48,000, with another $73,000 in the pipeline.  Please see an e-mail excerpt below from one of our church Treasurers:   “Dear Monte & Ross, I want to thank you...

God's Sign for a New Future

Previous Bishops

August 29, 2016

My Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ. Last week I jogged about a mile away from the condo where I’ve been living for the past 20 months to the Conference Center. As I stood in front of this building under renovation I looked up at the sky to see a full rainbow — a sign of God’s blessing over this building that is only partially restored. Could this be a metaphor for The United Methodist Church today? We too are undergoing a renovation. ...

Free Financial Seminar at YOUR Church

Ross Williams

August 24, 2016

Dear Treasurers, Finance Chairs, Stewardship Chairs and Trustees (cc: to Pastors), This is just a quick reminder of the program below, which has achieved very significant results in terms of strengthening the financial condition of our churches.  Since it began, this program has resulted in new bequests to our churches totaling over $5.5 million.   I am very supportive of this program, which has many benefits  to our member churches or parishioners.  There is no selling of anything here, either ...

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