Dear GNJ Leaders and our congregations,
The following are essential actions and information for this week. We encourage you to read this information carefully as it impacts your congregations and your communities.
1. Vaccination Updates – All Clergy and Laity
New Jersey now has access to three viable vaccines now that the Johnson & Johnson one has been approved by the FDA. The advantage to this vaccine is three-fold: 1) its efficacy against hospitalization/severe symptoms is 93%; 2) it does not require freezing so it is easier to transport and store and 3) it only requires one dose. Gov. Murphy said Monday that the state will begin to ease eligibility restrictions on March 15 but warned that supplies remain scarce. 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.
2. 2021 Billables and Shared Ministry Update- Pastors, Treasurers and Finance Chairpersons
On February 3, we sent you this email detailing billables and shared ministry for your church listed at the yearly expense, asking for a response from you by February 20. Because some have not yet responded and this information is vital toward creating a budget plan, we are extending that deadline to March 8. All responses should be sent to your regional administrator. 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.
3. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – Pastors, Treasurers and Finance Chairpersons
This week PPP loans are available to businesses that have fewer than 20 employees. A 14-day period began Feb. 24, 2021, for these groups in an effort to avoid what happened in the first round when funding was quickly exhausted and there were numerous objections that small businesses had trouble applying for and receiving loans. The deadline for PPP applications remains March 31, so again 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. Some of you have asked about tax implications related to the loan. New Jersey has committed to follow the federal lead for the 2020 tax season, making loans tax exempt and expenses tax deductible. Here is a good article that will shed some more light on this for you. For additional resources, please visit our website here.
4. Food Ministry/Emergency Boxes – All Clergy and Laity
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. Also, every Friday from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at its Neptune location, Fulfill hosts a drive-thru food distribution of boxes filled with non-perishable food to sustain a family of four for four days. For more details on where and how to access these, please visit our food ministries webpage here.