In this time of physical distance, please be mindful of your ongoing stewardship with your congregation.
To maintain consistent support for the congregation while under quarantine, encourage:
- Set up process for automatic ACH withdrawals
- Set up online giving platforms
- Encourage mailing in donations
The following tools are recommended by our staff, parishes, and by friends in other dioceses. All have varying levels of upfront investment.
If you’re going the route of encouraging folks to mail in their regular contributions, please be mindful of your money counting procedures and make sure we’re keeping everyone safe.
FOR CHURCH STAFF – CLERGY & LAY
While our buildings are closed, essential staff may need to visit the building for essential business including receiving mail, grounds check, counting, or more.
In case you are stopped by authorities, we recommend providing your essential staff a travel letter to indicate their purpose in going to the church building. This includes your clergy and lay staff in any travel from home to church building.
Click here to access our template.
Clergy are recommended to follow physical distancing guidelines as much as is possible and to conduct pastoral care on a virtual basis. In the situation that it is not possible and a visit is necessary, clergy may request a letter from the Bishop indicating their licensure to operate in either diocese. We anticipate this may be helpful especially in a hospital situation. This letter does not replace the letter for travel to your church building.
This letter is not necessary if you already have a Clergy ID card.
Click here to request a letter from the Bishop.
Guidelines for Count Procedures during Church Closure and Social Distancing Mandates
During this difficult time of social distancing and church closure, we understand that some business still needs to carry on for the continued function of the church and its finances, but figuring out how to do that can be difficult. Therefore, if your church plans to continue making deposits while the church is closed, you should continue using the standard count procedure you have in place, with the following modifications:
- You should continue using two, non-related counters who rotate on a regular schedule.
- Preferably someone from the church office (not the bookkeeper) will come to the church and open the mail and put all checks (and cash if there is any) together in a safe, or safe place, to be counted by the counters. If possible, it would be good for this person to stamp, or write, “for deposit only” on each check at this point, as an additional control measure.
- At a later time, one counter would come into the church and do the initial count, fill out the count sheet, etc. and then leave the deposit, count sheet, etc. in the safe/safe place for the second counter.
- At another later time (preferably the same day as the first counter, if possible) the second counter would come to the church and double check the count and count sheet information.
- Each employee and each counter should wash his/her hands before and after opening the mail/performing the count, and if possible, sterilize the work area and instruments used to complete the count, so that it is safe for each person during the process.
It is important to follow all of the normal internal control processes for the safekeeping of both the funds, the church and the staff/counters, with the modification of not having more than one person in the building at a time.
Please contact Sara Philo, Financial Manager, in the Eastern Michigan diocesan office or Tammy Mazure, Finance and Benefits Administrator, in the Western Michigan diocesan office, with any questions regarding these guidelines.
Financial Assistance to Congregations
There is some assistance available to congregations from recent governmental action, the Church Pension Group, and the diocese. Click here to read a recent message.