Parish Management

The Parish Audit Team, composed of volunteers from throughout the diocese, is accepting requests from parishes which need assistance to conduct their audits. Volunteers will audit only the 2018 fiscal year. No prior years will be audited. To request an audit, please contact Libby House, Treasurer of the Diocese. Parishes will be scheduled for an audit in the order of requests received and when materials needed for the audit have been collected. Before requesting an audit, a parish must:
  • Prepare and approve the 2018 end of year financial statements
  • Submit the 2018 Parochial Report
  • Prepare all documents in the “Items Needed for Audit” checklist linked below

Items Needed for Audits (Word)          Items Needed for Audits (PDF)

The auditor will go over the Internal Controls in advance of conducting the audit and, during the process, will help parishes to improve financial controls and accountability as parish resources allow.

Best Practices

The Finance Committee has provided the following documents and forms for conducting self-audits and for suggested use in bookkeeping and accounting procedures, which may be used by any parish

 
Asset Worksheet (Word)Auditor’s Workbook (Word)Credit Card Documentation (Word)Internal Control (Word)Journal Entry Documentation (Word)Rector Discretionary Account Documentation (Word)
Asset Worksheet (PDF)Auditor’s Workbook (PDF)Credit Card Documentation (PDF)Internal Control (PDF)Journal Entry Documentation (PDF)Rector Discretionary Account Documentation (PDF)
 If you have any questions, please contact Libby House.
Asset Worksheet (Word)Auditor’s Workbook (Word)Credit Card Documentation (Word)Internal Control (Word)Journal Entry Documentation (Word)Rector Discretionary Account Documentation (Word)
Asset Worksheet (PDF)Auditor’s Workbook (PDF)Credit Card Documentation (PDF)Internal Control (PDF)Journal Entry Documentation (PDF)Rector Discretionary Account Documentation (PDF)

Diocesan Investment Trust (DIT) Withdrawal, Deposits & New Accounts

View last quarter’s performance

Withdrawals from existing accounts:

Vestries will need to complete the withdrawal form and insure the proper signatures are on the form. Three signatures are preferred, but two are acceptable. The completed DIT Distribution form should then be scanned and emailed to the accounting office. For withdrawals in excess of $5,000 the accounting office may contact the parish to confirm the withdrawal. The accounting office will then forward the request to the custodian who will process the request within the next two business days. A copy of the request will be kept on file at the diocesan office.

Deposits to existing accounts:

Traditional Mail – vestries will approve, complete and sign the DIT Contribution Form and mail to the custodian with a check; also email a copy of the completed and signed deposit form to both the custodian and the accounting office.

Electronic Transfer – email the completed and signed deposit form to the custodian and the accounting office.

New accounts:

Please contact Cynthia Bakos in the accounting office for new DIT account forms.

For more information on the diocesan budget and budget process visit the Diocesan Budget page.

Sale, Lease Mortgage or Purchase of Parish Property

Every Parish in the Diocese of Bethlehem must obtain the written consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee before the Parish can sell or enter into a long-term (more than twelve months’ duration) lease for real property owned by the Parish. Diocesan Canons also require a Parish to obtain the written consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee before entering into a loan (such as a mortgage) secured by the Parish’s real property. Diocesan Canons further require a Parish to obtain the written consent of the Bishop and Standing Committee to purchase real property.

The Diocese is distributing these guidelines to help Parishes collect the information and documents they need to provide the Bishop and Standing Committee to obtain their approvals for sales, leases, and purchases of real property, and for any loans secured by real property. Written consent must also be obtained for any license agreement or easement granted for use of real property owned by a Parish, and guidance on the documents needed for those transactions will be provided upon request.

Download the guidelines.

Online tools for understanding and complying with the Church-wide Lay Employee Pension System are available from The Church Pension Group’s  Lay Pensions Resource Center.

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship offers comprehensive and flexible programs that can help congregations of any size improve their annual giving and planned giving. Pledge cards, weekly reflections, prayers, and other materials are all readily available and can be tailored to meet specific needs. Please contact Paula Lapinski if you would like to receive login information to access materials at no cost.

The Rev. Charlie Barebo, missioner for stewardship and development, can help parishes that are interested in implementing these programs by offering training and additional information. Email Charlie Barebo.

2016 Federal Reporting Requirements for Episcopal Churches

This guide from the Church Pension Fund is an important resource to assist treasurers, wardens and administrators in complying with federal reporting obligations for your church relating to the withholding and reporting of employee income taxes and Social Security and Medicare taxes. This guide will also assist in completing your Affordable Care Act tax reporting obligations. Find the guide online.

Church Law Today
Managed by Christianity Today, this website publishes updates on church law and taxes and has a legal and tax library.

More info at www.irs.gov.

Tax Information for Churches and Religious Organizations
An IRS publication  that provides guidance on obtaining and keeping tax exempt status, employment taxes, unrelated business income taxes, employee business expenses, record keeping and filing requirements.

The Diocesan Convention has established the 2019 assessment rate as 12% to be applied to line A, normal operating income (NOI) of the 2017 Parochial Report. The 2019 acceptance rate is 3% to be applied to line A, normal operating income (NOI) of the 2017 Parochial Report. The income for the diocesan budget consists of both assessments and acceptances. Click here to download parish Assessment and Acceptance list.

The salary schedule for clergy employees is established by the Diocesan Convention. View the 2019 Schedule.

The Clergy Supply Schedule for 2019 as set by Diocesan Convention are as follows

ServiceRate
1 Service (Saturday or Sunday) $130.00
 2 Services (Saturday or Sunday) $160.00
 3 Services (Saturday or Sunday) $190.00
 1 Major Service (Holy Week, Christmas, Funeral) $130.00
 Midweek Service $80.00

The Supply Clergy be reimbursed for travel at the current IRS Rates.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 58 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

Gressle Scholarship

Upon his retirement as the 6th Bishop of Bethlehem, the Rt. Rev. Lloyd E. Gressle established a scholarship fund to aid in the college education of the male children of clergy canonically resident in the Diocese of Bethlehem.

Applications Due: June 1, 2019
Checks Mailed: August 2019

Gressle Application (2019).

Contact
The diocesan office.

Shannon Scholarship

On March 7, 1905 Elizabeth S. Bryant of Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, founded The Shannon School for Girls to “maintain a school for the free reception, housing, boarding and education  of daughters between the ages of 9 and 20 years of rectors and clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church resident in the State of Pennsylvania…” and “…girls other than daughters of Episcopal clergymen that are resident in the Borough of Schuylkill Haven.”  Upon her death, the corporate charter was changed to providing scholarships to daughters of clergy canonically resident in Pennsylvania as well as  providing a limited number of  scholarships for girls who are residents of Schuylkill Haven.  The trust fund is governed by a seven-person board consisting of both clergy and lay persons.

Each year we award five scholarships for girls graduating in Schuylkill Haven as well as scholarships to qualified daughters of clergy canonically resident in Pennsylvania.  The amounts of the scholarships vary based on the number of qualified applicants and the income generated through the trust fund. Grants are only for undergraduate work and are paid directly to the colleges or universities.

Applications are available after March 15 with the deadline being April 30.  Grants are awarded in mid-June and applicants will be contacted regarding the awards.

Contact
Edna Rauco, Parish Administrator of Trinity Pottsville for specifics on the Shannon Scholarship, via email.

Congregational Development Grants

Congregational Development Grants provide financial support to congregations in the diocese that have identified a vision and developed plans to engage in active mission and ministry development. Grants are administered by the grants committee appointed by Diocesan Council and funded through the diocesan budget. Grants are provided for a one-year period.

Council seeks to encourage and support congregations that are actively in engaged with our diocesan vision of collaboration, connection, and adaptive change. The committee considers both the needs of the congregation and available resources. Recipient congregations must be current with assessment payment and diocesan Safeguarding policies.

Applications for Congregational Development Grants from the Diocese of Bethlehem will be available in November and accepted until December 15.  Funding for grants comes from funds allocated in the diocesan budget approved by the Diocesan Convention in October. Diocesan Council will make grants in February.

Please email Paula Lapinski to request an application form or to learn more.

Creation Care Grants

The Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation is pleased to make available funds for creation care initiatives.  The purpose of these funds is to equip Episcopalians for reconciliation with Creation in accordance with our mandate as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Visit Episcopal Digital Network for the announcement of this new grant.
visit Guidelines and Application to apply

Episcopal Church Building Fund

visit the ECBF website

Jubilee Ministry

visit the Episcopal Church Jubilee Ministry Grants page

Roanridge

visit the Episcopal Church Roanridge Trust page or view the application for 2019.

Society of the Episcopal Church for the Advancement of Christianity in Pennsylvania (a.k.a. the Long Name Society)

This grant provides assistance for a variety of needs: repairs and installation of heating systems, roof and spouting repairs, driveways and parking lot repaving, carpeting, overdue bills, rectory repairs electrical improvements, etc.

Contact Paula Lapinski if you are interested in applying. Send a letter of request stating your need in detail along with an appraisal of the present work and a copy of your recent parochial report. This grant must have approval of the Bishop.

Grants made in January, May and October. Deadlines for applications to be in the Diocesan Office are December 15, April 15 and September 15.

Stroller

visit the Stroller Foundation website

United Thank Offering

The United Thank Offering is now accepting grant applications for 2019. This year’s focus is Go: Crossing boundaries created by race, culture, and economics to create communities that listen deeply and learn to live like Jesus. Read more about the grant criteria and access helpful hints for filling out applications.
 
All applications must be submitted via email to Paula Lapinski at the Diocesan Office by February 1, 2019. Applications will then be considered for submission to the UTO. Only one application may be submitted per diocese. Download the application here. Please contact Cathy Bailey, the Diocese of Bethlehem’s UTO coordinator, for more information.