May 24, 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)


*New Resources for church pastors and financial leaders


New Resources for church pastors and financial leaders

     by Phyllis Regier, WDC Business Manager

A survey Everence conducted last year of MC USA Pastors indicated that many pastors felt there were deficits in their understanding of clergy taxes and church finances. My experience also has been that pastors and church leaders have many financial questions and are looking for a guide to help them better understand issues such as budgeting, financial reporting, tax compliance, insurance coverage and how to promote financial accountability. Whenever I am asked a tax or financial procedure question by church treasurers or pastors, www.churchlawandtax.com or their publications, Church Finance Today and Church Law and Tax Report, is the first place I look for answers. Church Law and Tax is the division of Christianity Today that specializes in the areas of clergy taxes and church finances.

In order to address church finance and clergy tax issues, Everence has provided Western District with two resources from Church Law and Tax.

¨       Church Finance – The complete guide to managing ministry resources.

“Overseeing the financial health of a church is no simple task. Increased regulations, IRS audits, and changing technology are a few of the challenges facing both new and experienced treasurers, bookkeepers, business administrators and executive pastors” from Church Law and Tax website

This guide covers areas such as budgeting, accounting and financial reporting, compensation and benefits, audits as well as insurance and managing risk.

¨    2016 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

Tax law in general is highly complex and ever changing. Add to that the many unique rules that apply to church and clergy and you’re set up for a challenging task that requires an expert’s guidance.

This guide helps clergy:

  • Prepare tax returns
  • Understand tax laws
  • Correctly report federal income taxes and social security taxes
  • Distinguish relevant exemptions
  • Reduce tax liability

The guide helps church treasurers, board members, bookkeepers, attorneys, CPA’s and tax practitioners:

  • Define “income” for the church
  • Handle and report employee business expenses
  • Understand the substantiation rules that apply to charitable contributions and designated contributions
  • Grasp federal tax reporting requirements that apply to churches and church employees

Beyond help preparing annual tax returns ministers, churches, and their advisers find the guide indispensable throughout the year with in-depth coverage on:

  • Charitable contributions
  • Clergy retirement plans
  • Social Security taxes
  • Church reporting requirements
  • Housing allowance
  • Business-expense reimbursements

Book Description from the Church Law and Tax website

Both of these resources are available on the reference shelf in the Conference Resource Library for a one-week check-out and can help when you are struggling with the complex financial issues facing ministers and churches today.

WDC Announcements

  1. WDC Annual Assembly will take place July 29-30, Friday evening – Saturday, on the Bethel College campus in North Newton, KS. Watch for schedule and registration information coming soon.
  1. Pastors: Mark your calendars to attend a “Pastors’ Afternoon Apart” resourcing event on the theme Holy and Whole: Faithful Response to Sexual Abuse in the Congregation on Friday afternoon, July 29 (preceding WDC annual assembly) sponsored by WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission.  More information to come soon.
  1. Palestine/Israel tour report: On Tuesday, June 7, at 7 p.m., central Kansas participants from a recent Come and See Learning Tour to Palestine and Israel will present a program of reflections and pictures from their experience. The program will be at First Mennonite Church, 429 E. 1st Street, Newton, KS. Refreshments will be served, and all are welcome to attend.  The presenters are among 13 persons who traveled in April on an 11-day Come and See learning tour sponsored by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Central Committee at the invitation of Palestinian Christians.  Approximately 75 persons from across Mennonite Church USA have now participated in Come and See tours, to increase awareness of issues surrounding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and promote peace and social justice.
  1. Summer Youth Camps start oh-so-very soon! Camp Mennoscah’s first summer youth camp begins June 5–and then we’ll be having camps all through July!  There’s time and room for you to sign up your favorite camper or share camp with someone who would benefit from a week of fun, fellowship, and faith!  Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290.  For those going into 3rd grade through High School.  Don’t miss out!
  1. Young Adult Weekend–Spread the word, all ye folks who read bulletin announcements! Camp Mennoscah is having a retreat for young adults on July 29-31. It’s a time to hang out, worship, grill or roast stuff, and have a blast.  Patrick Loganbill and Rachel Miller will direct this weekend of fun and delight!  Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290.
  1. Look ahead! Camp Mennoscah offers retreats in the fall, including the Mental Health Spiritual Retreat, Work & Play Camp (over a weekend this year!), our Annual Meeting (part of Work & Play Camp!), and our Fall Scrapbooking Retreats.  We’re pretty sure the summer will zip past us quickly, so start thinking about how many of these retreat you’ll be able to attend!  More information at www.campmennoscah.org
  1. The West Zion Mennonite Church (Moundridge, KS) Concert Series continues with a concert on June 5 at 7 pm. Featured performers include Christopher Shaw, organ; Bill Froese, baritone vocalist; Dan White, musical saw; Galen Fast, saxophone;  Laurie Regehr, piano & Donna Stucky, piano.  A free-will offering will be received during the concert.  After the concert, there will be a time of fellowship, with refreshments being served.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Youth Venture is still accepting applications for the July 15-25 Los Angeles team! Partner with Mountain View Mennonite Church and ReconciliAsian as they minister to their community through vacation Bible school, a peace center, and other various services. Ages 14-22 can apply by June 15 at MennoniteMission.net/Serve, or contact ArloaB@MennoniteMission.net for inquiries.
  1. Mennonite Voluntary Service is accepting applications for the 2016-2017 year! Opportunities to serve and live in community with others are still open in a variety of placements and locations, including teaching in Puerto Rico. Ages 20+ can apply at MennoniteMission.net/Serve, or contact NeilR@MennoniteMission.net for inquiries.
  1. Movie Screening: “No Asylum: The Untold Chapter of Anne Frank’s Story” – A brief discussion of issues related to refugee resettlement to follow.  When:  Sunday, June 12, 4:00 p.m.  Where:  Hesston Mennonite Church, 309 S. Main Street, Hesston, KS 67072. Cost:  A free will offering will be received.  All money received will be given to the Refugee Resettlement Fund established at Hesston Mennonite Church to support receiving refugees in the Hesston community with Episcopal Migration Ministry—Wichita.


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