CF&A Reduces Shared Ministry Formula and Passes Amended Budget

March 20, 2019 | GNJ News

In other business at the Special Session of Annual Conference for Greater New Jersey, the GNJ Council for Finance and Administration recommended three pieces of legislation that affected GNJ’s Shared Ministry formula (apportionment) the 2019 amended budget and policy changes that were prompted by recent matters involving clergy and the conference.

CF&A Chair Bob Dietz and committee members Judy Colorado and Jack Scharf presented the two pieces of legislation affecting the budget.

“Today, we recommend a modified 2019 budget to reduce shared ministry expenses to the local churches,” said Dietz.

The 2019 budget was originally based on an apportionment formula for local churches of 16.1%.  The legislation presented and passed at the special session reduces the shared ministry formula to 15.6%.

Judy Colorado shared that the finances of GNJ continue to be strong, including growing the giving rate from 78% to 88% over the last six years.  She thanked congregations for their shared ministry giving and explained that the “budget reduction is based on the staff and agencies being good stewards so that instead of savings going to the reserves, it will stay with you and your congregation.”

Colorado presented legislation that would amend the 2019 budget even further to include a one year line item of $110,000.  The one time reduction would be used to fulfill a just resolution to a 2010 complaint against a clergy person.  The just resolution involved gifts including cash and a car paid by a parishioner to a clergy person.

“While the trial has concluded, GNJ has an obligation to honor the resolutions of the complaint.  This required CF&A to reassess the 2019 budget to make adjustments,” said Colorado.  “We thought and felt called that this was the right thing to do.”

The amended budget which included the $110,000 line item passed.

In a third piece of legislation brought forth by CF&A, Jack Scharf presented recommendations for nine new policy changes, proposed by CF&A and the Cabinet. These policies were developed based on recommendations from the Committee on Investigations after review of the financial management issues in the recent 2019 clergy trial.

“CF&A has reviewed, discussed and unanimously agreed to these nine proposed policies.” said Scharf.  “These policies represent best practices for both church and nonprofit and even business organizations.  The legislation will provide clarity for our congregations.”

Dietz explained the rationale for the recommendations, “This is a proactive policy change.  It is not a statement that CF&A has any opinion in regard to the trial.”

After a period of questions and answers, the conference referred the matter to the regular Annual Conference Session in May.   CF&A plans to bring the policies to the May session after addressing some of the questions and input from conference members.  Click here to review the policies presented at Special Session.