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MC Canada faces revenue shortfall


Winnipeg, Man.—A financial review of MC Canada’s fiscal year ending January 31, 2003 has revealed an error in planning.

A potential $500,000 revenue shortfall is currently being forecast. Delegates at Saskatoon 2002 approved a revenue budget of $5.55 million and expenses of $5.68 million, with the $128,000 difference to be covered by higher than usual draws from reserve funds.

“The upshot is that we are facing a larger than anticipated deficit this year, and staff cuts next year,” said Dan Nighswander, general secretary. But he is quick to commend congregations and individual donors. “Our people have embraced and engaged in the missional church vision as they said they would. And, we are now sole administrators in Canada of important ministries such as international ministries and voluntary service, among many others. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve and for the church’s response.”

The problem has been traced back to pre-Abbotsford transition planning. Funds that previously flowed through MC Canada to other organizations under old structures remained on the revenue side of the ledger, assuming these funds would support MC Canada ministries.

“Our revenue budget assumed that all funds previously given by Canadian donors for US-based entities would now stay in Canada,” reports Nighswander.

“A portion of these funds were designated to US-based agencies such as colleges and projects of area conference mission boards like Eastern Mennonite Mission. These organizations are not incorporated in our new structure, and so this revenue continues to flow through our books and on to these organizations.”

On the expense side of the ledger, the news is more hopeful. “As of the end of November, we are within our expense budget” said Pam Peters-Pries, executive secretary of Support Services, the home of MC Canada’s financial operations. “We are currently clarifying expense projections to the end of this fiscal year to estimate where our bottom line may end up.”

“We must now be diligent in revising next year’s budget,” added Nighswander.

Next year’s budget is undergoing careful review by leadership with an eye to reducing and terminating programs according to priorities. Staff has been instructed to hold the line on spending for the current fiscal year. A hiring freeze is in place until further revenue and expense information comes in and budget details for next year can be worked out. A better picture of fiscal year ending January 31, 2003 will be available by mid-February.

“This situation needs all our attention and commitment. God is working in and through Mennonite Church Canada, and we need to discern how we can be the best stewards of what God has entrusted to us through the church,” said Nighswander.

“We are fortunate in having received a strong mandate for our vision from the delegate body of Mennonite Church Canada. We will continue to engage in our Vision: Healing and Hope, aligning ourselves with God’s mission as best we can in the light of current financial realities,” said Nighswander.

Further financial updates will be coming as information becomes available.