Thursday, February 11, 2010

Church of the Brethren reports pre-audit financial results for 2009.

The Church of the Brethren is releasing pre-audit financial results for 2009. Even though the church's Core Ministries budget ended the year with a loss of $233,110, this loss was less than half of the anticipated amount. The Core Ministries budget funds programs that are considered "core" to the denomination's overall ministry.

Net assets were available to cover this deficit, and congregations significantly exceeded budgeted expectations as well. Giving from individuals to the church's Core Ministries was higher than in 2008, even in a faltering economy, but did not quite meet hoped-for levels. In addition, expenses were held under budget.

However, the church is expected to continue to experience financial challenges in upcoming years, even as staff work to achieve a balanced budget.

When staff budgeted for 2009, with the anticipation of another difficult economic year, projections included the expectation that giving would be lower than in 2008. We are pleased and grateful that congregations exceeded budgeted expectations for Core Ministries in 2009. This helped offset shortfalls in investment income.

The self-funding ministries of the Church of the Brethren experienced varied financial results in 2009, and several continue to have economic challenges. The church's self-funding ministries include the Conference Office, Brethren Disaster Ministries, Brethren Press, Global Food Crisis, Material Resources, "Messenger" magazine, and the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center.

Four of the self-funding ministries receive income through sales of goods and services. Good news came from Brethren Press with a positive year of $10,200 income over expense, which offsets some negative net assets in previous years. In addition, "Messenger" exceeded its budget with income of $5,220.

While economic conditions affected all ministries, Material Resources and the New Windsor Conference Center saw losses worse than anticipated. Material Resources ended the year with a loss of $68,860, but had sufficient net assets to undergird the year. However, the New Windsor Conference Center, which already had negative net assets in 2009, was seriously affected by reductions in income and ended the year with a loss of $155,900.

The Conference Office, a fifth self-funding ministry recently brought under the oversight of the Church of the Brethren's Mission and Ministry Board, ended the year with a deficit of $259,330 largely due to low attendance at the 2009 Annual Conference held in San Diego, Calif. This shortfall increases the prior year's negative net asset balance, resulting in the largest accumulated deficit ever experienced by the Annual Conference--a serious challenge for future years.

Gifts to the Emergency Disaster Fund in 2009 totaled $904,300, down from 2008. The Emerging Global Mission Fund received $58,422, and gifts to the Global Food Crisis Fund totaled $298,840, both up from the year before.

The figures above have been provided prior to completion of the 2009 audit. Complete financial information will be available in the Church of the Brethren's audit report, to be published in June.

-- Judy E. Keyser serves as treasurer for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 2/11/2010 Newsline

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