Essential Actions and Updates for Feb 23, 2021

February 23, 2021 | COVID-19, Essential Actions

Dear GNJ Leaders and our congregations,

Lent is often a time of sacrifice, but humble sacrifice can only be achieved by also choosing something new. What are you letting go of and what are you choosing to embrace this week? This may be the most essential action this week. The following are other essential actions and information for this week. We encourage you to read this information carefully as it impacts your congregations and your communities.

1. Annual Audits  Pastors, Treasurers and Finance Chairpersons
The GNJ Office of Finance & Administration is responsible for ensuring that all financial books, records and bank accounts undergo an annual audit, as required by The Book of Discipline. Please refer to this helpful guide from the GFCA and other details here when preparing your audit. Included in the audit must be the transactions of the church’s operating account, Board of Trustees, preschool (if controlled by the church), Memorial Funds, Endowment Funds, Mission & Outreach Ministries, etc.

2. Food Ministry/Emergency Boxes – All Clergy and Laity
NJ Pandemic Relief Fund’s new $2.8 million initiative to fund small- and medium-sized food pantries and soup kitchens is underway. Churches who are supplied by food banks have been contacted and are moving forward with their applications. Also, Fulfill, the food bank that services Monmouth and Ocean Counties, still has emergency food boxes that are available to anyone who would like to pick them up. For more details on where and how to access these, please visit our food ministries webpage here.

3. Vaccination/Reopening Updates – All Clergy and Laity
Although there was a slowdown in vaccinations this past week due to less supply available because of weather-related delivery delays, there have been more than 1.6 million people vaccinated. Gov. Murphy announced yesterday that houses of worship are allowed to operate at 50% capacity still using social distancing measures, but with most people in the state still not vaccinated, we encourage churches to be cautious in preparing their reopening plans. New Jersey officials are committed to distributing the vaccine in an equitable manner and also partner with churches in educating people about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. For additional educational resources for your congregations as well as links to a scheduling system and more information on procedures in Pennsylvania and New York, click here. To share your experience with the vaccine, please contact Heather Mistretta.

4. Stellar Technology Solutions  Pastors, Treasurers and Finance Chairpersons
GNJ Stewardship Foundation’s new access to Stellar Technology Solutions’ online accounting and reporting portal goes live in April. This means expanded services and benefits for you. Stay tuned for more details on the product and upcoming training sessions here.

5. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – Pastors, Treasurers and Finance Chairpersons
The deadline for PPP applications is March 31, or whenever the funding is depleted, so we encourage our churches to apply as soon as possible and preferably with a local community bank who has the ability to be more flexible than a larger national bank. New resources from GCFA are available on our website here as are new FAQs and a list of dos and don’ts. We will continue to update this page to reflect the most current updates. Please keep in mind that churches do not have to wait for a special charge conference before they can apply, but they must have a conference to receive the money.

6. 2021 Billables and Shared Ministry FAQ Page – Pastors, Treasurers and Finance Chairpersons  
Thank you for continuing to send in your questions as you prepare your revised budget plan. GNJ is continuing to update the FAQ page with the questions we receive here. Important note: If you did not receive the billables email sent on Feb. 3, please contact us so that we can ensure you will receive any subsequent emails.

In Christ,

GNJ Leadership

Quick links to information in this email:
Annual Audits
Food Ministry/Emergency Boxes
Vaccination/Reopening Updates
Stellar Technology Solutions
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
2021 Billables and Shared Ministry FAQ Page