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MC Canada General Board to seek delegate approval of budget at June Assembly


Gordon Peters, Chair of Mennonite Church Canada’s Financial Policy and Audit Committee.

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March 13, 2009
- Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man. — The General Board of Mennonite Church Canada will seek delegate approval of a balanced budget at the MC Canada Assembly in Saskatoon, June 5-7.

The Board approved the budget for the fiscal year ending in 2010 during meetings in Wpg., Mar. 6-7. The Board decision came after vigorous discussion and review of the financial year just past, in which finances fell approximately $139,000 short (un-audited figures) for the year ending Jan. 31, 2009. The deficit will be covered by a transfer from reserves. Gordon Peters, Chair of the Financial Policy and Audit Committee (FPAC) expressed gratitude: Congregations gave generously, slightly exceeding giving projections. However, late in the last quarter of year it became evident that income/losses from investments and decreased designated giving due to increasing global economic pressure would result in a shortfall.

The General Board approved a budget that includes a spending deferral of $150,000. Finances will be closely monitored to determine the possibility of reconsidering these deferrals during the budget year. The deferred expenses consist of delayed hiring for some currently vacant positions and deferring some planned and needed spending, such as an upgrade of ageing office computers and building maintenance of 600 Shaftesbury offices. Phone conferences will replace some face-to-face leadership meetings. The board affirmed a 3.4% cost of living allowance for staff salaries according to existing policy.

After a transfer from reserves to cover the current deficit, there will be $200,000 remaining in primary reserve fund, and $100,000 in the capital reserve fund – an uncomfortably low reserve level says Randy Wiebe, Director of Finance. “Our goal is to have a minimum of three months worth of operating funds in reserves, in the event of a crisis,” he said.

Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary, observed that the current financial climate provides a timely opportunity to evaluate investment priorities. “Strengthening the church is a good investment anytime, including times of crisis. As we speak, people throughout the world are turning to the church to help carry them through the impact of failed financial systems. The church will be there long after particular banks, favoured stocks, and even powerful empires have failed.”