Parish Management

Assessment & Acceptance

Assessment & Acceptance Rates

The Diocesan Convention has established the 2021 assessment rate as 12% to be applied to line A, normal operating income (NOI) of the 2019 Parochial Report. The 2021 acceptance rate is 3% to be applied to line A, normal operating income (NOI) of the 2019 Parochial Report. The income for the diocesan budget consists of both assessments and acceptances. Download the parish Assessment and Acceptance list.

Assessment Adjustment

The intent of the Assessment Adjustment program is to provide short term relief (reduction in current year Assessment) for parish operating budgets that can help steady their solvency as they pursue solutions for their financial challenges.

The Mission Resource Committee (MRC), composed of lay and clergy leaders from across the diocese, receives and reviews applications on a monthly basis for Assessment adjustment on behalf of Diocesan Council. The MRC makes Assessment Adjustment recommendations to Diocesan Council.

In addition to completing this application, your parish will deliver a short presentation (less than 10 minutes) to the MRC that highlights the causes of your current financial situation, describes what you have tried that has not worked and what has worked in your ministry, and describes what you are planning to do differently in the future.

The foundation of Assessment is rooted in a spirit of mutual ministry together as parishes in the diocese. In your presentation, please be sure to provide an awareness that as you request an adjustment, you are not simply asking for support of the Bishop, but of every other parish that makes up the diocese with you.

Download the Assessment Adjustment application: PDF format or Microsoft Word format. Please submit your completed application to Canon Steve Baker (steve@diobeth.org) who will contact you to schedule your meeting with the MRC.

Clergy Compensation

The salary schedule for clergy employees is established by the Diocesan Convention. View the 2021 Schedule resolution on the Convention page.

The Clergy Supply Schedule for 2021 as set by Diocesan Convention are as follows

Service Rate
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, 2021, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) is:

  • 56 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 16 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organization

Diocesan Budget

View the 2020 budget.

View the latest Financial Statement & Auditor’s Report

Diocesan Investment Trust

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

View last quarter’s performance

The current spend rate is 4.5%

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.

Grants & Loans

Mission Resources Grant

Mission Resources Grants is a Diocese of Bethlehem program intended to inspire ministry and mission innovation throughout the diocese as provided by the Diocesan Budget. These grants are made by the Mission Resources Committee (MRC) on behalf of Diocesan Council. The MRC, composed of lay and clergy leaders from across the diocese, receives and reviews Mission Resources Grant applications on a monthly basis. 

If your parish is instead experiencing financial distress, the Assessment Adjustment program may be a more appropriate way to seek diocesan support. More information can be found on the Assessment & Acceptance tab of the Parish Management page.

Download the Mission Resources Grant application: PDF format or Microsoft Word format. Please submit your completed application to Canon Steve Baker (steve@diobeth.org). 

Colt-Sterrett Loan

The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem makes loans to parishes and other Diocesan organizations for certain purposes from the Colt Fund and the Bishop Sterrett Fund. Please read the guidelines for more details. If a parish or diocesan organization would like to apply please submit the application along with all required documentation to Paula at the diocesan office either via email or mail to the address on the application.

Guidelines (PDF)
Application (PDF)

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.

United Thank Offering

The United Thank Offering is a ministry of The Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. Learn about UTO grants.

All applications must be submitted via email to Paula Lapinski at the Diocesan Office at least a month in advance of the stated deadline. Applications will then be considered for submission to the UTO. Only one application may be submitted per diocese. Please visit the UTO website for the grant application. Please contact Cathy Bailey, the Diocese of Bethlehem’s UTO coordinator, for more information.

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 for their guidelines and current application.

Stroller

Visit the Stroller Foundation website

Insurance

Attention Medical Trust Participants-Our online Annual Enrollment for 2021 will run from October 28 – November 18, 2020.

Read important details about our 2021 health benefits offerings and Annual Enrollment process in the letter below. Please share this information with your employees.

Annual Enrollment Letter

Annual Enrollment Guide

Plan Comparison Chart

Compliance Notices

Parish Audits

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 current complete 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 current end of year financial statements
  • Submit the most recent 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, along with the Manual of Business Methods, for conducting self-audits and for suggested use in bookkeeping and accounting procedures, which may be used by any parish.

[table id=4/]

 If you have any questions, please contact Libby House.
Property

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.

Scholarships

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
Checks Mailed: August

Gressle Application.

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.

Stewardship

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.

Tax Resources

The following 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. View the guide.

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

The IRS also provides guidance on obtaining and keeping tax exempt status, employment taxes, unrelated business income taxes, employee business expenses, record keeping and filing requirements. Learn more.