UMCOR - Hurricane Disaster Response

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton

October 16, 2018

TO: All Clergy, Lay Leaders, & Administrative Council Leaders FROM: Thomas J. Bickerton, Resident Bishop RE: Hurricane Disaster Response Dear Friends, On Friday, October 12, I was involved in a meeting of the UMCOR Board of Directors in Atlanta, GA.  During that meeting, an UMCOR Unit Director began speaking about the urgent needs that have emerged around the recent round of hurricanes and typhoons that have taken place across the world.  In her report, she used the phrase, the “new normal.” The...

Laity Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton

October 12, 2018

October 11, 2018 Dear Friends & Colleagues, I write today to share with you some words of encouragement for our upcoming celebration and recognition of Laity Sunday. Laity Sunday is a special Sunday which has been established and promoted over the years as an intentional way to focus on and celebrate the ministry of the laity throughout the church.   This year Laity Sunday has been set for October 21st, 2018.   The theme of this year’s Laity Sunday is, "Therefore Go! With Hope Through Offering ...

New York State Law: Combatting Workplace Sexual Harassment

Sally Truglia

October 05, 2018

The State of New York has issued additional guidance regarding mandated Sexual Harassment training for all employers in NY. As you learned in my previous email, the law requires all employers to create and publish a Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Form, as well as introduce annual employee training. Luckily, the NY Division of Human Rights has updated their initial guidelines and polices so that the templates are available for our use. The main website contains information for the ...

Utility Cost Reviews

Ross Williams

October 03, 2018

Dear Treasurers, Finance Chairs and Pastors, You may remember that we worked with a company called Cost Stewardship, a vetted partner of our denomination's finance agency, to help churches obtain federal refunds of healthcare costs.  Our Conference was the most successful of any in the U.S. with our churches receiving total healthcare refunds of $78,555.  These funds, available for vital ministries, went directly to the churches that engaged Cost Stewardship to perform the service.  That program...

Clergy Housing Allowances

Ross Williams

September 24, 2018

Dear Clergy and Church Finance Leaders: The topic of clergy “Housing Allowances” can be a complicated one, involving very specific rules and confusing terminology.  It is also an area that requires action prior to the processing of payroll each calendar 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 ...

AIEM Housing Allowances

Ross Williams

September 24, 2018

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...

New Mandatory NY State Laws

Sally Truglia

September 17, 2018

NEW YORK MANDATORY TRAINING LAW New York State and New York City have passed new legislation that mandates training and prevention of sexual harassment in all New York workplaces. All New York employers, including churches, are required to implement policies, procedures and training to enforce the new Combating Sexual Harassment Law.   There are several provisions which do not apply to our churches and affiliated organizations.  These include:  state contracts and bidding, mandatory arbitration,...

2019 Budget Inputs

Ross Williams

September 10, 2018

Dear Treasurers and Finance Chairs (copy to pastors), You will most likely be working on your 2019 budgets soon.  To assist you, listed below are some inputs from the Conference: Clergy Healthcare: The church's share of the Uniform Rate for HealthFlex will be $17,208.00.  Since clergy will have six plans to choose from in 2019, the rate for each clergy person will vary based upon which plan they choose.  Clergy will be given an annual "allowance" to spend on health care and in some cases, they ...

Electronic Payment of Benefits

September 07, 2018

Dear Pastors, Finance Chairs and Treasurers,   The GCFA has a partnership with Vanco Payment Solutions to help churches strengthen financial stewardship. The New York Annual Conference Center has decided to take advantage of this service to provide a seamless and stress-free way for churches and pastors to pay their benefit invoices directly online. The link to access the portal is listed below and can be found on the NYAC website under the Finance tab in the Benefits Payments Online ...

Testimony from an Immigration Clinic

Immigration Task Force

August 27, 2018

Immigration clinics are usually held once a week at a public, community place like a church or a school. They are places where immigrants can go to receive assistance filling out their immigration paper work. Immigration clinics are staffed by volunteers who are able to bear witness to the histories, hopes, and vulnerabilities of our immigrant friends. Rev. Rafeal García provides his witness from a summer of volunteering at an immigration clinic in New York City.

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