To GNJ:      Pastors  
                   Church Council Chairpersons
                   Church Treasurers
                   Church Finance Chairpersons
                   Board of Trustees Chairpersons
                   Staff Parish Relations Chairpersons
Dear GNJ Leaders and our congregations,

We have received requests for the billables and shared ministry to all be listed at the yearly expense. To provide you with more clarity so that you can move forward, below are all of the billables and shared ministries listed at the yearly expense.

Also, due to potential mid-year appointment changes, pension and clergy-elected (and lay-elected) health-related billings are not included in this letter but will be part of the billing statements received monthly. The first complete billing statements are scheduled to go out this week.

We are grateful for your patience, diligence and grace. We know how difficult and for some, painful this time must be for you given this new challenge the conference is facing. However, we are reassured to know that if we do it together with God’s guidance, we will make it through to the other side as a stronger conference still committed to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and poised to take both bold steps forward to end the sin of racism as well as smaller steps in helping each other heal and grow.

Below is a “Congregational Billings” outline for each congregation to follow in setting up a shared ministry and billable payment plan. This is vital for each congregation’s budget plan and for the cabinet’s ability to finish the appointment process.

Please know our goal is to be as transparent as possible. We cannot emphasize enough that clergy now more than ever need to ask for help, in both completing the requested forms and practicing good self-care by loving themselves as much as they love their neighbors. We also encourage you to reach out to your fellow clergy and actively care for each other. Some of our clergy have found the Facebook group, GNJ Breakthrough for Clergy, supportive and helpful in navigating through this uncertain time.

Congregational Billings for <<Church Name>>, #<<Church Number>>
Supporting GNJ congregations to make disciples, become more vital and engage in community mission are priorities for GNJ. While this continues to be our commitment, we are no longer able to underwrite the billables for congregations. For several years, GNJ has been using reserves and/or property sales to subsidize the insurances and clergy/lay employee benefits of congregations with the 2021 original projection of more than $8,000 per church. This practice is no longer sustainable for the long-term vitality of GNJ. Recognizing that it will not be easy for congregations to pay the actual costs in 2021, the annual conference voted January 22, 2021 on a plan for GNJ to gradually decrease the subsidy over five years.
100% Shared Ministry and Billable Payment
GNJ has two primary sources of income: 1) Shared Ministry Giving, and 2) Billable Payments. While 2020 was a stronger than anticipated year given the pandemic, with Shared Ministry giving rate at 74% (historically closer to 88%) and collected billings at 93%, our goal must be to get all churches paying 100%. When we do not achieve this, then billings and shared ministries need to be increased for everyone to make up the difference, which is unfair and negatively impacts the mission of these churches. Starting in 2021, grants through A Journey of Hope equity grants are made available to all churches in low-income communities to assist with Shared Ministry and Billable Payments.
Congregations who have not paid 100% of their full 12 months of connectional obligations will need to adjust their budget to meet the full 100%, which may include reducing the appointment to half time or less. As a last resort, some may make the difficult decision to proceed with the process of closing the church. We are grieved that this step may have to be taken, but the cabinet is being asked to begin to make this difficult decision for the health and vitality of congregations and to preserve and honor the GNJ mission.
Please assess your ability to balance your budget and ensure 100% giving to billables and shared ministry payments in 2021 below:
Shared Ministry for 2021 Billables for 2021
$<<GNJ SM>> GNJ Shared Ministries $<<Health Ins 2021>> Health Care Insurance
$<<GCFA SM>> General Church Apportionment $<<Property 2021>> Property Insurance
Paid in 2020 <<2020 SM % Paid>> $<<Workers Comp 2021>> Workers Compensation
Paid in 2019 <<2019 SM % Paid>> Paid in 2020 <<2020 % Paid>>
    Paid in 2019 <<2019 % Paid>>
If you would like assistance to better understand any of this information and what is being asked, please contact your district superintendent. Otherwise, please reply by email to your regional administrator by February 20, 2021, and indicate that the pastor, church council chairperson, church treasurer, church finance chairperson, board of trustees chairperson, and staff parish relations chairperson have read the information, discussed it and agree with item 1 or 2 below. Place an X next to the statement that best reflects your situation.
____ We understand the information and fully anticipate meeting our 2021 obligations.
____ We have read the information and do not believe we will be able to meet our full obligations.
In Christ,
GNJ Leadership

cc: <<Address>> District Superintendent  
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