WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
November 24, 2015
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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
by Phyllis Regier, WDC Business Manager
Validating contributions is an important step to keep your church financially accountable. Below are a few guidelines that churches should follow for receipts.
Tax laws require that any contribution of $250 or over must be acknowledged by a printed receipt. This receipt must include the following:
- · Legal name of the church that is receiving the contribution
- · Name of the donor
- · Date of the contribution
- · Amount contributed
- · A statement that includes “No goods or services were provided in exchange for this contribution other than intangible religious benefits, unless otherwise noted.”
- · If goods or services were provided an example of the statement would read: “Thank you for your cash contribution of (amount) that (church name) received on (date). In exchange for your contribution, we gave you a (name of good or service) with an estimated fair market value of (amount).”
- · The receipt must be received by the donor prior to the date that the donor files their tax return for the year of the contribution.
- ·The receipt must be provided for each contribution of $250 or greater. An annual summary at the end of the year may also be used to list all contributions as long as it provides an itemized listing of all the individual contributions of $250 or greater.
Donating labor and services to a church is a very common practice for most church members. From teaching Sunday school to labor performed by a carpenter, electrician, lawyer, etc., donated labor is an important asset for churches. However it is important for church treasurers to understand that the value of donated labor provided by a member is never a tax deductible expense.
While a church member cannot deduct the value of their labor as a charitable contribution, any unreimbursed expenses incurred while preforming the donated labor may qualify as a charitable contribution.
Transportation expenses while performing donated services are also deductible. Taxpayers may claim a deduction either for the actual costs of using a vehicle for charitable activities, or the standard charitable mileage rate which at present is 14 cents per mile. Actual costs would include the cost of gas and oil, but not general repair, maintenance expenses, depreciation, or insurance. You may also deduct parking fees and tolls, whether you use your actual expenses or the standard rate. Reasonable expenses for meals and lodging if working away from home are also deductible.
Church treasurers need to be aware of these tax rules because failure to comply may result in a loss of a tax deduction for your members.
Conference Ministers’ comments regarding Syrian refugee concerns: Along with many in WDC and the wider church, I am deeply disturbed by the hostility toward refugees that has spread across our nation as a reaction to terrorist violence in France. While I share a concern for security for all people, I believe that as followers of Christ we must seek to honor scripture’s call to care for the most vulnerable, and to recognize that we serve Christ in “the least of these.” (Matthew 25). I am in conversation with Mennonite leaders, church-related groups and other organizations, to determine avenues for advocacy and support for refugees, and to discern further response and action within WDC. – Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference MinisterSee also:
– A letter from Mennonite Church USA Executive Director Ervin Stutzman on the Paris attacks:
– Statement from Faith in Public Life (signed by MC USA Executive Director Ervin Stutzman along with over 1500 other faith leaders): http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/newsroom/18744/
– Mennonite Central Committee: http://mcc.org/get-involved/advocacy/alert/urge-congress-others-support-syrian-refugees
Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister
Western District Conference
- WDC Resource Library Director: Jennie Wintermote will begin as the new 1/4-time WDC Resource Library Director on December 1. She currently also serves as 1/2-time supply pastor at New Creation Fellowship Church in Newton, KS, and has previously worked as a summer library assistant at the WDC Resource Library, and as a 1st grade teacher. Jennie graduated from Hesston College and Bethel College, and is pursuing her master’s degree in Library Science from Emporia State University. Welcome, Jennie!
- Two new items have been posted to the to the “Christian Formation” page on the WDC website (https://mennowdc.org/christian-nurture/): a link to The Gathering Place (youth ministry connections/resources): http://thegatheringplace.us. Also, a link to “Youth Ministry Council: The Gathering 2016” “Ministry Matters: Youth and Real World Theology” – http://mennoniteusa.org/youth/youth-ministry-council-the-gathering-2016/.
- The Tabor Mennonite Youth Fellowship will share their annual living nativity, Night in the Barn, on December 19 and 20 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The llama that gives kisses, the big cow with her little calf, the sheep wearing bells, and the donkeys that share their love of people—these are a few of the critters who will assemble in the barn of Maynard Knepp and Carol Duerksen between Goessel and Hillsboro. The come-and-go event will feature a program in the barn, Christmas carols around a bonfire, hot drinks and snacks. Admission is free and donations to the youth group will be accepted. Directions: From Goessel: 3 miles north on Hwy 15, 4 miles east on 150th, ¾ north on Falcon. From Hillsboro, 4 miles south on Indigo, 3 west on 150th, ¾ north on Falcon. From McPherson, Hwy 56 to Hwy 15 south, 5 miles on Hwy 15 to 150th, 4 miles east on 150th and ¾ north on Falcon. (Follow these directions and not GPS) For more information, call 620-386-0709.
- Here is a list of ideas for faith formation shared by participants in the faith formation breakout sessions at the Western District Conference assembly Oct. 31. The WDC Resource Commission encourages individuals and congregations to share practices they’ve tried that have aided their faith formation. Please visit the Anabaptist Faith Formation Network website: www.anabaptistfaithformation.org/
Camp Mennoscah Announcements
- Over the past 67 years, there have been a huge number of people who have worked at Camp Mennoscah as summer staffers. Summer staffers, their spouses, significant others, and kids are invited to gather on December 19 at Camp Mennoscah in the dining hall at 2:30pm. (We’re not being picky about the definition of “summer staff” and we’re not collecting invitations at the door.) We’ll have coffee and other hot drinks to go with some cookies. You’re welcome to bring a snack to share. It’s a time to gather, catch up with folks and share stories. Questions? Call 620-297-3290.
Mennonite Church Announcements
- Healthcare workers! Join us in Estes Park, CO, June 17-19 for the 2016 Annual Gathering of Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship. Not a member? Not a problem! Come meet and hear stories from peers who have also been called to care for others through healthcare related fields. Our focus will be “Wholeness and Holiness: Views from the Mountaintop.” Children’s programming will also be provided. Visit: www.mennohealth.org.
- Mennonite Central Committee Central States is accepting applications for a Director of Programs. The Director of Programs will be responsible for the direction and oversight of all of MCC Central States Programs. This position is expected to connect with constituent churches and groups, as well as like-minded organizations to provide information about MCC. This position is open within the Central States Region. Find more details at serve.mcc.org (look for Director of Programs -CS) or email Heidi Huber, Human Resources Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mennonite Church Canada’s Elsie Rempel writes an At-Home Family Devotional that accompanies the worship themes in the Leader magazine. You can download the devotional at: http://tiny.cc/adventathome. This link is really handy for sharing with people in bulletins and other written media where they can’t just click a link.
- High school seniors: Don’t miss out on receiving one of our top scholarships! A Goshen College achievement scholarship could save you and your family tens of thousands of dollars on a nationally-ranked Anabaptist-Mennonite education. Dec. 15 is the priority application deadline for eligibility. Apply now at: goshen.edu/dec15