PARISH ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE ENEWS
February 2018
March 1 Faithful Futures -- Building Use “Story Time” at The Commons 
by Louis Fuertes

Our parishes’ church buildings, parish halls, parking lots, and meeting rooms are integral to our worship life, but their value can extend far beyond their primary use. Many of our parish buildings and campuses also play important roles in the civic life of their communities, reflecting their prime locations and parishioners’ leadership roles in community affairs and charitable organizations.

There is considerable variety in the ways parishes have used their buildings and grounds to enhance the vitality and health of their communities. This variation certainly reflects the unique location and history of our parishes and the distinct demographics and traditions of the communities they serve and neighborhoods that surround them.

Lize Bickley, a second year Masters of Divinity candidate at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, has been speaking to leaders of ECCT parishes that have been successful in utilizing their buildings during the week to engage and support their neighborhoods in different ways. She has heard how these “facility use” activities have evolved over time and has learned how parishioners and community leaders have worked to make them successful. The measures of success are varied – income to support parish ministries and building upkeep, help for those in need and recovery, greater connection with neighbors, creation of service opportunities for parishioners and advancing the mission of God in our cities and towns.

Lize has asked leaders in four ECCT parishes with interesting and different facility use histories to come to the Commons on March 1 for a panel discussion from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. where they will tell their building use stories to leaders of parishes that are exploring their options for making use of their buildings in new and different ways. The evening is intended to give attendees new ideas and an opportunity to learn what panel participants have found to be effective in their communities.

To reserve space for your parish, please visit the Eventbrite Page to register. Participation is limited to five attendees per parish. For any questions or for registration assistance, please contact Gigi Leackfeldt at gleackfeldt@episcopalct.org or at 203-369-3501 ext. 136. 
One last chance to ace Parochial Reports 101! Reports DUE MARCH 1
We have held three meetings this year to share tips about completing Parochial Reports, and 45 people from 29 parishes have attended them. We had planned to hold a fourth meeting, but it was cancelled due to inclement weather. As was the case from the four sessions we held in 2017, we received very positive feedback at our recent sessions. Attendees said that they learned something new, gained confidence in their ability to complete this report and had some fun in the process.

As we have mentioned in earlier communications, it is not obvious how parish financials should be reported on Parochial Reports.
  • Some of the terminology is confusing
  • There is little understanding about which revenues and expenses are “operating” and which are “non-operating”
  • There is considerable misunderstanding about where respondents should get financial information needed to complete the report.

Because of confusion and misunderstanding, Parochial Reports often convey an incorrect picture of parish financials. In many cases, reporting mistakes & missed opportunities result in higher-than-necessary Common Mission Support obligations.

Parochial Reports are due on March 1 , and no revisions to Parochial Reports can be accepted after June 1 when we begin budgeting for the next year. It makes sense therefore to prepare your Parochial Reports early in the year equipped with good understanding of the reporting framework.

To make up for the session that was snowed out, we will hold one more Parochial Reports 101 session on   February 26 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m . These sessions provide an opportunity to ask specific questions about their parishes, and attendees are encouraged to bring income statements and balance sheets so we can tailor our answers to the reporting frameworks parishes use.
How are you fixed for Financial Management Merit Badges?

The canons of The Episcopal Church and ECCT wander into the realm of Administration and Finance in a number of ways, probably more than a majority of clergy and lay leaders might imagine. The requirements that they set forth are intended to promote a host of institutional virtues (including financial sustainability, transparency, equity, careful stewardship of resources) that warrant compliance by all parishes. However, ECCT parishes collectively fall short of many of these requirements.

In a craven attempt to enliven a topic that some might find drier than West Texas sand, let me ask you to imagine an ECCT Annual Convention in which attendees wore sashes bearing the merit badges for all the financial canonical requirements with which their parish complies. Which of the following merit badges would you have been sporting at our 2017 Annual Convention?
Just about all parishioners would have had the Parochial Report merit badge on their sashes. However, representatives of only 61 parishes would have had the coveted gold star, signifying Parochial Report submission before March 1 , as specified by Title I Canon 6.1 of The Episcopal Church.  
You would also have seen almost as many “Gold Watch” merit badges, signifying that parishes are complying with ECCT Canon XIII by making timely pension payments for clergy. Only seven parishes currently have pension receivables that are over 60 days past due, and all other parishes served by clergy with active status would have “the Goldie” on their sashes.

137 parish’s reps would have been wearing the “Ten Percenter” merit badge because their parish contributed 10% of trailing year operating revenues to Common Mission Support, complying with ECCT canon I.11.B.
Parishioners from 118 ECCT churches would have been brandishing the “Pink Pig” merit badge because their parish had been managing their endowment draws for operations in compliance with the moderate level (less than 25% over a three year period) specified by ECCT canon I.11.B. The “Pink Pig with a Star” or “Deputy Arnold” merit badge (shown above) would have been worn by members of 93 of these 118 parishes, as their annual endowment draws were less than 5%.
The “Green Eyeshade” merit badge would have been worn by members of 80 parishes that had submitted audits or financial reviews for the prior year, complying with ECCT canon IV.4.D. Parishes submitting audits or financial reviews by September 1 as required by IV.4.D would be showing off the so-rare-its-not-even-shown-above “Star Accountant” merit badge.
The rarest of all is the “Fin Comm” merit badge that would be worn by 69 parishes that comply with ECCT canon IV.2.A in their endowment management practices. These parishes either:
  • rely upon the fiduciary services of the Trustees of Donations & Bequests for Church Services, Inc. to oversee management of their endowment investments,
  • or have received approval from ECCT’s Bishops and Finance Committee to oversee services of non-bank investment advisors and managers based on their policies and capabilities of their Finance Committee (see here for approval criteria)
If we all wore sashes at the next Annual Convention, how many financial management merit badges would you be wearing? What do you need to do to earn them all?

Given how far we have to go to reach 100% compliance, please make efforts to come into compliance with all of ECCT’s financial management canons, beginning with timely submission of your parish’s 2017 Parochial Report by March 1 and submission of audit or financial reviews by September 1.
Audit Notes: Potential “Discretionary Fund” Pitfalls
by Karolyn Nicolaides
 
Recently I have been tabulating findings of parish financial reviews and audits s ubmitted by ECCT parishes to the Mission Finance & Operations office . We use this data to notify members of our Leadership groups (Mission Council, Commission on Ministry, Trustees of Donations & Bequests, and Standing Committee) of any potential “red flags” concerning parish’s financial practices. Over 20% of issues reported in the audits and financial reviews we have received in 2017 concerned the management of Discretionary Funds.

Some of the auditor’s findings include:
  • Discretionary Funds were used inappropriately, for clergy expenses, etc. Oversight of the use of Discretionary Funds is not adequate;
  • There was no policy establishing a threshold amount when checks written from a Discretionary Fund account must have a second signature;
  • Discretionary Funds were written out to an individual or written out to cash;
  • Discretionary Fund account balances were not being reported on the balance sheet.

 These frequently occurring problems can easily be addressed by following these basic guidelines:
  • Discretionary Funds should be used only for alms (giving to others as an act of charity). While Discretionary Fund use is controlled by Clergy and confidentiality of recipients’ identities should be maintained, there still should always be a second set of eyes reviewing individual disbursements (possibly as part of a monthly reconciliation) to protect both the clergy person and the parish;
  • The parish’s Vestry (possibly with input from a Finance Committee) should create a “check amount threshold policy” that will require a second signature on payables from the Discretionary Fund when they exceed a specific amount;
  • Checks can be written out to a grocery store, utility company or charitable organization, but should never be written out to an individual or made out to cash;
  • Discretionary Fund account balances are parish assets and, like all other parish bank accounts, should always be included in any statement of a parish’s financial condition

Clergy-administered Discretionary Funds are effective tools for parishes to assist those in need. By following the guidelines above, parishes can provide assurance that contributions to these funds will be administered carefully and used appropriately
Marketh Thine Calendarium!

If you haven’t already done so, circle April 7 on your calendar. That’s the date for ECCT’s Spring Training. This annual event is attended by 300 – 400 of your fellow Episcopalians who come together to learn how they can be more effective and knowledgeable leaders in their parishes, and have fun while doing so.

The event is held as in recent years at the Lincoln Middle School at 164 Centennial Avenue in Meriden, and runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (you should plan on arriving by 8:30 to sign in and get set for the day). Thirty-three different sessions on a broad array of topics with be offered over the course of the day, and attendees say that the biggest challenge is selecting which session to attend in each of the different time slots.

Use this link to learn more and register to attend. We hope to see you there. As we Episcopalians seem to be happiest when traveling in packs, you might want to bring some fellow parishioners along with you!
Note from the Secretary for Donations and Bequests
by Theresa Dupont

To increase security, I am requesting that parish vestries formally designate at least two unrelated individuals to initiate funds transfers into and out of D&B accounts and to act as authorized signers for related instructions to D&B. A form for identifying authorized users and creating a signature record for these individuals can be found here .
Information on retention of business and financial data
The Archives of the Episcopal Church has guidelines on retention of business and financial data. Here is an explanation and a list in great detail about what parishes need to retain for legal reasons and for what duration. These rules are also in line with the Federal laws and state statutes.

When examining business and financial files, making two copies of this document will be helpful: one to keep on hand for reference, and the other to note what has been discarded or destroyed (by date). It is very important to note that any documents with bank account numbers, personal identification such as social security numbers and the like, need to be SHREDDED, not simply discarded. There are different rules for preserving electronic documents and you can go out to this page .
          
Other provisions that we add are to keep personnel records for at least 33 years in case they are needed for discovery (i.e. a lawsuit) copy of our liability insurance binder (this must be a paper copy) for the same reason.
HR Matters
Kayla Tubolino, Human Resources

Where are the new Human Resource professionals coming from?

It is with great joy that we report that ECCT’s Human Resource Administrator, Kayla Tubolino, gave birth in January to Christian, who, with older sister Avery, are seen here learning from their mother the importance of giving and receiving frequent, balanced, and timely feedback.

HR Matters will continue in the next issue that comes out mid-April. Please refer to the 2017 Parish Administration & Finance eNewsletters for past topics.
Industry Appraisals for 2018
 
Industrial Appraisals has started work on performing appraisals of all parish real estate and valuable contents. IA has started work in Tolland, Middlesex, and Windham Counties and will continue to work through 2018 to ensure all parishes have been appraised.

The following parishes have had their appraisals completed:
St. Paul, Bantam; Christ Church, Bethlehem; St. George, Bolton; Trinity, Brooklyn; Church of the Holy Advent, Clinton; St. Alban, Danielson; Church of the Epiphany, Durham; St. Stephen, East Haddam; St. John, Essex; St. David Gales Ferry; St. Peter, Hebron; Middlesex Cluster, Higganum; St. James, Higganum; All Saints, Ivoryton; Emmanuel, Killingworth; Camp Washington, Lakeside; Trinity, Lakeville; Christ Church, Middle Haddam; Holy Trinity, Middletown; St. Mark, Mystic; St. James, New London; St. John, New Milford; St. John, Niantic; Christ Church, Norwich; All Saints, Oakville; St. Ann, Old Lyme; Grace, Old Saybrook; St. Mary's by the Sea, Old Saybrook; St. Paul, Plainfield; St. James, Poquetanuck; Trinity, Portland; St. Philip’s, Putnam; Christ Church, Sharon; Grace, Stafford Springs; Calvary, Stonington; St. Mark, Storrs; St. Peter – Trinity, Thomaston; St. John, Vernon; St. John, Washington; St. Paul, Willimantic; St. Paul, Windham; St. Paul, Woodbury; Glebe House, Woodbury; Grace, Yantic
Please contact  Matt Handi  at 203-639-3501, x107 with any questions
Ongoing Parish/worshiping community surveys

Thank you to the 75 parishes that have completed their 2017 “summer project" from ECCT - the parish/worshiping community surveys. (And a reminder and advance thank you to those still working on them!)
 
ECCT published a special eNewsletter (link  here  to read) and mailed out print information packets about the survey over the summer. You can also read more  here .
 
We believe the information will help by documenting the ministries that are active at ECCT parishes, and identifying parish leaders. This will help you and all of us participate more fully and more collaboratively in God's mission. We encourage other parishes to join this list so they, too, can gain access to the information from participating parishes!

If you have your login information, please click HERE to access the survey welcome page.

If you have any questions about completing the survey, please email or call our Operations Manager, Matt Handi, at 203-639-3501, ext. 107, or  mhandi@episcopalct.org .
Thank you to the following parishes and worshiping communities:
Christ Church, Ansonia; St. Paul's, Bantam; Christ Church, Bethany; St. Thomas', Bethel; Old Saint Andrew's, Bloomfield; St. George's, Bolton; St. Mark's, Bridgewater; Grace, Broad Brook; St. Paul's, Brookfield; Trinity, Brooklyn; Trinity, Collinsville; St. James', Danbury; St. Alban's, Danielson; St. Luke's, Darien; Church of the Epiphany, Durham; St. Stephen's, East Haddam; All Saints, East Hartford; St. John's, East Windsor; Christ's Church, Easton; Holy Trinity, Enfield; St. John's, Essex; St. Paul's, Fairfield; St. Timothy's, Fairfield; St. James', Farmington; St. David's, Gales Ferry; St. James', Glastonbury; Christ Church, Greenwich; Trinity, Hartford; Church of the Good Shepherd, Hartford; Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford; Grace, Hartford; St. Monica's, Hartford; St. Peter's, Hebron; St. James', Higganum; Emmanuel Church, Killingworth; St. Andrew's, Madison; St. Mary's, Manchester; St. Andrew's, Meriden; Christ Church, Middle Haddam; Church of the Holy Trinity, Middletown; St. Peter's, Monroe; St. Mark's, Mystic; St. Michael's, Naugatuck; St. Paul and St. James, New Haven; St. James', New London; St. John's, New Milford; Trinity, Newtown; St. John's, North Haven; St. Paul's on the Green, Norwalk; Saint Ann's, Old Lyme; Grace, Old Saybrook; Church of the Good Shepherd, Orange; St. James', Poquetanuck; Trinity, Portland; Christ Church, Redding; St. Stephen's, Ridgefield; St. Andrew the Apostle, Rocky Hill; Christ Church, Sharon; St. Alban's, Simsbury; St. Luke's, South Glastonbury; St. Peter's, South Windsor; Church of the Epiphany, Southbury; St. Paul's, Southington; Grace, Stafford Springs; St. Mark's Chapel, Storrs; Trinity, Torrington; Trinity, Trumbull; St. John's, Waterbury; St. John's, West Hartford; St. James's, West Hartford; Christ & Holy Trinity Church, Westport; Trinity, Wethersfield; Grace, Windsor; All Saints, Wolcott; Grace, Yantic
Parish Directory

We have recently compiled a parish directory that now includes parish information received as part of the parish survey initiative. You will note there are now listings for multiple forms of contact, parish partnerships, and parish ministries. If your parish has completed the survey, you will now see such data listed in the updated directory. Please click HERE to take a look! We welcome your feedback and are happy to let you know how you can edit your parish information!

Please contact  Matt Handi  at 203-639-3501, x107 with any questions.
Bishops' upcoming visitation schedule

February 18 - Ahrens: St. Paul's, Woodbury; Douglas: St. Peter's, South Windsor
February 25 - Ahrens: St. Mark's, Bridgeport

March 11 - Ahrens: St. James', Danbury; Douglas: Church of the Epiphany, Southbury
March 18 - Ahrens: Trinity, Milton; Douglas: Chrurch of the Holy Spirit, West Haven
March 25 - Ahrens: Trinity, Hartford; Douglas: St. Barnabas', Greenwich

April 1 - Ahrens: St. James', New Haven
April 8 - Ahrens: Holy Trinity, Middletown; Douglas: Trinity, Trumbull
April 15 - Ahrens: Emmauel, Killingworth; Douglas: St. John's, West Hartford
April 22 - Ahrens: St. John's, New Milford
April 29 - Ahrens: St. John's, Essex; Douglas: St. Paul's, Westbrook
Parish admins invited to join a listserve

Want to chat with colleagues about ACS vs PowerChurch? Offer tips on more successful mail merges? Get suggestions on names for a new campaign?  Alison Hollo , Senior Administrator for the Office of the Episcopate, invites parish administrators to forward her their names and email addresses to be added to an ECCT listserve for parish admins. 

As a member of Bishops' Executive Secretaries Together (B+E+S+T), Alison has participated in their listserve and wants to make the same opportunity available for parish admins in ECCT. 
Helpful Links
2018 Treasurers' Newsletter can be found  here : Included: Clergy compensation, Insurance, Lay Pension, Church Records, Supply Clergy, Tax and other IRS information, and other management operations. 
2017 Treasurers' Newsletter can be found  here

Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs  linked on this page  (English and Spanish)
The next issue of the Parish Admin & Finance eNewsletter will be published mid-April