February 23, 2016

A weekly communication for:

WDC Churches and Pastors

WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members

Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and

forwarded to congregational leaders and members.

WDC Sprouts is also available at: www.mennowdc.org (Publications)


*Substantiating Contributions – Out-of-pocket Expenses


Substantiating Contributions – Out-of-pocket Expenses

by Phyllis Regier, WDC Business Manager (taken from Church Law & Tax, Best Practices for Receiving Charitable Contributions)

Validating contributions is important in keeping your church financially accountable. These contributions must also be properly substantiated in order to be deducted on the donor’s tax return. Out-of-pocket expenses for services performed by a person for the church is a form of a charitable contribution that needs to be substantiated in the following manner.

  1. Donors must have adequate records to prove the amount of the expenses, and
  2. Donors must receive an acknowledgement from the church that contains:
    • A description of the services provided,
    • A statement of whether or not the church provided any goods or services to reimburse the donor for the expenses incurred,
    • A description and a good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services (other than intangible religious benefits) provided to reimburse the donor, and
    • A statement of any intangible religious benefits provided to the donor.

This acknowledgement from the church must be provided to the donor on or before the earlier of:

  • The date the donor files a tax return claiming the deduction, or
  • The due date, including extensions, for filing the return.

REMEMBER: While a church member may deduct any unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses incurred while performing donated labor, the value of the donated labor itself is never a tax deductible expense.

WDC Announcements

  1. Next Steps with Kansas Leadership Center training: Pastors and congregation members who have taken training at Kansas Leadership Center (or anyone interested in learning more about it ) are invited to a workshop Saturday, March 12, 8:30 am – 12:00 noon at Whitestone Mennonite Church, 629 Crescent Dr., Hesston, co-sponsored by Western District and South Central Conferences. See attached program. The workshop is free, and brunch will be served. Bring your questions, ideas and stories of how you are putting KLC training to use! Please RSVP by March 7 to wdc@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300. This will be a great opportunity to review leadership concepts, consider how they relate to Anabaptist-Mennonite principles, network with other church leaders, and brainstorm future ways to use what we are learning. (To attend from a distance you can connect by using the following link on March 12 at 8:30 am: https://sccmenno-org.highfive.com/scc-wdc-kansas-leadership-center-training-follow-up.   If you attend this way, please e-mail scc@sccmenno.org so they are set up to accommodate you.)
  1. As you make plans to attend the WDC Reference Council at First Mennonite Church in Beatrice, Nebraska on April 23, call or email WDC (316-283-6300, wdc@mennowdc.org) if you’d like to carpool. We’ll try to help make those connections.
  1. Kansas lawmakers have a bill before them that would repeal the death penalty. House Bill 2515 was introduced by Representative Steven Becker, a member of Buhler Mennonite Church. But the bill has yet to receive a hearing. Contact your legislators and House Speaker Ray Merrick to express your support for death penalty repeal. Find their contact information at www.kslegislature.org. For more information, see www.ksabolition.org.
  1. The armadillos are waiting to see you! Camp Mennoscah has open weekends this summer for each of our facilities–Retreat Center, Main Camp, and the Bluestem house. We’d love to share the camp experience with you! It’s a great place to connect with friends, family, creation, and God. Contact us at 620-297-3290 so we can tell you about the fun possibilities!
  1. It’s just about time for the Youth Volunteer Weekend at Camp Mennoscah on March 11-12! We’ll be singing & worshiping, doing some service projects, and enjoying camp! Patrick Loganbill and Rachel Miller will lead us in activities along with our trusty counselors. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org. Questions? Contact us at 620-297-3290 or check out the attached Youth Volunteer poster.
  1. One glorious weekend of memories and creativity! Camp Mennoscah offers you a weekend filled with hours of time to spend on your scrapbooks or craft-making in the company of others. Join us March 11-13! Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290. Bring a Friend for a discount–and because it’s fun to be with friends!
  1. Camp Mennoscah’s Retirees Relaxation Retreat will be April 25-27 on the theme of Mennonites in Early Kansas. Retirees of all ages (and all interested!) are invited to join us for 3 days of captivating speakers, Bible Study, coffee breaks, and community. It’s a grand time for being with others and relaxing in creation. Contact us at 620-297-3290 or register online at www.campmennoscah.org!

Mennonite Church Announcements
1. Prayer and Scripture Continuing Ed. Opportunity Available from AMBS-Kansas Center: AMBS-Kansas Center will host a short course on prayer and Scripture entitled “Being Formed by God through Scripture.” This course is open to anyone interested in learning how Scripture shapes our prayer practices. This course will be led by Kathryn Damiano, a spiritual director of 33 years and adjunct professor for AMBS-Great Plains. The course will meet on April 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 9:30-11:30am at Mennonite Church of the Servant in Wichita, KS (2401 N. Woodland, Wichita, KS 67204). If interested in taking this course for masters-level credit or if you have any questions, please contact Katherine Goerzen (kgoerzen@ambs.edu) for more information. The cost of this continuing education course is only $50 for WDC participants who register before March 19. Registration is now available at: https://www.ambs.edu/academics/kansas-center-non-credit.cfm

  1. Volunteer opportunities at the Mennonite Heritage & Agricultural Museum in Goessel, KS: Many of you know that we have a new employee at the museum – his name is Benjamin Schmidt, and he is our new Curator and Archivist. A curator is someone who manages and gives an overall shape and feel to an exhibit or presentation to visitors. Part of Benjamin’s role will be to update our exhibits as time allows. An archivist is someone who accesses, collects, organizes and provides access to records and archives. Much of Benjamin’s time will be spent doing this activity to the museum’s collection records. In order for him to have time for these roles effectively, the museum board is asking the community if there are individuals who would be willing to staff the gift shop on a rotation basis. This would also include at times, introducing visitors to the museum. If you have questions or would like to volunteer, please call Steve Banman, Board President at 620-367-4610 or call the museum and speak with Benjamin at 620-367-8200. Thanks in advance!
  1. Vacation Bible School is an exciting time and MCC is here to help! Please share this offering idea document (attached) with your VBS coordinators. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular VBS curriculums and paired MCC offering projects with them.   Please feel free to contact us with questions!

Western District Conference

2517 North Main, PO Box 306

North Newton KS 67117

316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620

Email: wdc@mennowdc.org

Website: www.mennowdc.org