The Conference is navigating a challenging financial landscape, and our position reflects good financial stewardship in recent years. We have maintained reserve levels as directed by the Council on Finance and Administration. Conference staffing levels (excluding Camps and Retreats) are down 20% from recent year peaks and sound investment management have worked together to make this happen.
Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has combined with underlying denominational uncertainties to present the most challenging financial environment in recent memory. In addition to what's reported here, work remains across the Conference and Districts to find efficiencies and equip local churches in new ways. While local churches are apportioned to support District, Conference and General Church ministries, the updates that follow relate to Conference ministries only.
Thank you for your support through apportioned connectional giving. A Conference-wide connectional giving report by church can be found here.
- Total apportioned connectional giving income is down 27% ($928,000) versus 2019 and 2019 was not a good year.
- Clergy Benefits finances are in good shape, even with investment market volatility.
- Conference Ministries net results, excluding investment gains/losses, are ($450,000), a 28% deficit. A Conference Ministries deficit reduces reserves. Over 85% of the impact is attributable to lower receipts on apportioned connectional giving.
Major COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Actions and Financial Implications to Date
- The Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits awarded $500,000 in clergy benefit grants to local churches in April.
- Wespath announced a 90-day suspension of Clergy Protection Plan premiums, about $260,000 for West Ohio.
- On May 5, the Conference, on behalf of itself and all districts, closed on a $1,119,400 Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loan. In July, applicable expenses incurred over an eight-week period beginning May 5 will be converted to a grant, and the remaining loan balance will be paid off.
- On April 29, the Conference introduced an on-line giving platform for any local church wishing to use it. Ten online gifts were made in the first 48 hours and disbursed to their local churches the next week.
- Camps & Retreats have cancelled 2020 summer camps; retreats are planning to resume in late summer. An analysis of impact is underway.
- Changes in Annual Conference and Clergy Sessions may lead to savings of $180,000.
- Various scenarios of the continuing impact of COVID-19 are being developed and expense reduction opportunities at every level are being reviewed.
- Net retiree health results are 28% better than budget and also 28% better than 2019.
- Versus 2019, Active Health Insurance revenue is up $76,520 (3%) and expenses are up $31,087 for a net improvement of $45,443 or 14% over 2019.
- A change in staffing the front desk from a full-time position to two part-time positions contributes to lower expenses. With the Conference Center closed since mid-March, the part-time front desk employee expenses are also not incurred.
- A full-time videographer position that was not replaced upon a resignation contributes to the results and will continue to throughout 2020, offset by contract videographer work.