Annual Reading of Church Session Minutes
Lehigh Presbytery is entrusted with the responsibility to annually review the Minutes of Session for each of our 29 congregations. Each congregation must have its Session Minutes reviewed annually.
The regional meetings have been cancelled. Partners should get together when it is convenient to read each other’s minutes. Then send the form and the original last page of the minutes to the Stated Clerk for signature. After the Stated Clerk reviews and signs them, a copy of the signed form and the signed original last page of the minutes will be returned to you
- All Church Groupings with clerk info – no regional meeting
- Session Minute Review Form for 2021 Minutes
- Contact your partner from the list above to see how they wish to receive a copy of your church’s 2021 minutes: electronically or printed.
- Using the checklist, review your minutes indicating your response to each questions, and the pages on which each item can be found.
- Submit your minutes and checklist to your partner. PLEASE DO NOT SEND THEM TO THE PRESBYTERY OFFICE.
- Partners review the checklist received, noting especially on page 2 of the checklist any exceptions (items missing from the minutes you’re evaluating), as well as any comments you would make of both appreciation and/or concern.
- After you meeting with your partner and read each other minutes:
- Mail to the Stated Clerk your copy of your partner’s minute checklist you reviewed.
- along with the original last page of YOUR church’s 2021 session minutes, so the Stated Clerk can stamp and sign them, indicating that they have been reviewed.
Copies of the following documents are requested for the Presbytery church files:
- Property deed (s)
- 2021 Annual Report
- Most Recent Directory
- Current By Laws and Standing Rules
- Current Sexual Misconduct Policy (G-3.0106)
- Current Child & Youth Protection Policy approved by your Session
Thank you for your attention to this process and for ALL you do as both a clerk of session for your congregation and in service to the presbytery.
If you should have questions, please contact Rev. Mike Drake, Stated Clerk of Lehigh Presbytery (484-894-4088 or ).
Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS)
Preserve vital church records for free at the Presbyterian Historical Society. You can order digital copies of the records at a PC(USA) discount. If you join their church membership program, you would receive even further digitalization savings.
PHS is here to serve your congregation. From preserving your history, to accessing historical records, to learning more about the heritage of American Presbyterianism, there is a lot to explore at www.history.pcusa.org!
Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Lehigh Presbytery Mission Grants for Churches
Mission Grants may be applied for by churches and members of Lehigh Presbytery. Eligible Mission projects should fall into the following categories:
- Leadership Development – includes endeavors that educate and empower congregational leaders for the 21st century church.
- Community Outreach – includes technology upgrades and other projects that facilitate connections with people outside the walls of the church building.
- Innovative, experimental, risk-taking – includes creative, “out of the box” ideas that effectively move congregations into a new way of being the church.
In general, the presbytery will not grant requests to fund personnel expenses or capital projects.
Please submit application 3 months before anticipated expenditure.
Evaluation of Projects: In consideration of each funding request, the Mission Grant Team will ask the following questions:
- Has the applicant identified clearly stated goals and measurable, realistic, and time-sensitive objectives?
- Has the applicant identified measurable outcomes that will enhance the mission of the Presbytery and the applicants congregation?
- Is the project’s timeline practical and feasible?
- Are there opportunities for partnering with interfaith, ecumenical, or other Presbyterian congregations?
- Are there other sources of funding for the project? Can the project proceed without presbytery funding? What percentage of the project will the presbytery be funding?
- Is the suggested project duplicative of other projects in the congregation’s vicinity?
- Are there opportunities for replicating the project it if is successful?
- Has the applicant asked for funds for this project in the past? Was a grant awarded? If it was funded, why is additional funding needed? If it was denied, have the concerns that led to the denial of funds been addressed?
Reporting: Within one year after funds are received, applicants must provide reports on progress toward the achievement of measurable goals and provide detailed reports of expenditures to date. Failure to report will cause applicants to be ineligible for additional mission grant funds.
For more information, please see the grant application form.
ON LINE GIVING PROGRAM THROUGH THE PRESBYTERIAN FOUNDATION
Your church can easily accept secure online donations through the Presbyterian Foundation’s online giving system.
- Add a donation form to your website to accept gifts by electronic funds transfer, debit or credit card.
- Simple, safe and secure.
- No setup or maintenance fees.
Many Americans find that the only check they write is their offering to the church. Those in younger generations may not even use a checkbook–preferring to handle all of their contributions and bills electronically. When your church passes the offering plate on Sunday morning — are you limiting your offering to pocket change from those who feel obligated to put something in, but would give more with an online account option?
Online Options to Simplify Giving
Through the Foundation’s Online Giving Program, your church can now accept secure online donations. You can add the donation form to your website to accept gifts by debit or credit card, and electronic funds transfer. Your members can even set up recurring gifts, adding predictability and regularity to your offering receipts.
No need to negotiate with credit card vendors, merchant services, banks or any other company. The Presbyterian Foundation will take care of processing all online gifts, validating and reconciling transactions for you. Online fund management tools allow you to :
- Monitor donations and funds balances
- Receive disbursements from money raised monthly
- Thank donors and tell about the impact of their donations
- Produce giving reports
For more information click here.
Below are links to the program guide, application and basic sales sheet along with a sample pew card. If you sign up with our online giving program, your church will receive a starter set of 100 pew cars as well. Once you complete the application, you can submit it along with a voided check via email, USPS or fax. it takes 5-7 business days once received from our home office for your site to be live.
If it would be helpful to schedule a zoom meeting with your finance committee and/or session to answer questions and provide a demonstration of what donors see, Rev. Ellie Johns-Kelley (Ministry Relations Officer) would be happy to do so. Simply let her know and she will schedule a time. There was a webinar on on-line giving that you can view at https://recording.join.me/yr2y78cGfUWuaVdVTblosQ. There is also a powerpoint presentation from this webinar below.
- Board of Pensions
- Board of Pensions Forms
- 2022 Board of Pensions Benefits Plan – Quick Facts and Dues Schedule
- 2022 Board of Pensions – benefits update
- Board of Pensions Ministers Choice
- Board of Pensions benefits – informational documents
- Board of Pensions – Understanding Effective Salary
- Book of Order 2019-2021
- Book of Order 2019-2021 – Korean
- Book of Order 2019-2021 – Spanish
- Book of Confessions 2016
- Book of Confessions – Korean
- Book of Confessions – Spanish
- General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- Legal Resource Manual 2020 – PCUSA
- Church Lease & Covenant Issues – Advice on best practices when a church is considering allowing an outside group to use its building.
- Guidelines for Presbyterians in Times of Disagreement – Seeking to be Faithful Together
Samples you may edit to fit your church:
Annually Updated Items
- Honorariums for Moderating & Pulpit Supply
- 2022 Combined Lehigh Presbytery-PNEC UCC Supply List – Honoraria 4.21.2022
- Standard IRS Mileage Rate
- 2022 Minimum Terms of Call
- Per Capita – 2022
- 2022 Stated Assemblies of Lehigh Presbytery
- Church Per Capita & Mission Remittance Form
- 2022 Mission Support PLEDGE FORM
- 2021 Lehigh Presbytery Mission Grant Application
- Interim Pastor Contract Template
- Temporary Supply Contract Template
- Pulpit Supply Contract Template
- Pastoral Call Form – 2021 – for new calls
- Terms of Call Form 2022 – FILLABLE– reported annually
- Session Minute Review Form
- Statistical Reports – information and latest report on Lehigh Presbytery
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Annual Report to the PA Department of State
Churches should submit an Annual Corporation Report to the PA Department of State to help reserve your corporate name and doing so will exempt you from the next Decennial Filing.
You can verify that your church is correctly registered with the state by going to the PA Department of State site – and doing an entity search – https://www.corporations.pa.gov/Search/corpsearch
By doing this you will know the correct corporate name to use when filing the report. You may view the online fillable form by clicking the link below….
We encourage every church to do this annually. It’s FREE!
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Important Federal Court Ruling on Failure to Report Child Abuse
Published in Church Law & Tax Report, January/February 2016, pg. 12, Senior Editor Richard R. Hammar, Christianity Today, publisher.
A federal court in Pennsylvania ruled that a local church and denominational agency could be sued on the basis of the legal principle of negligence per se by a victim of child abuse as a result of their failure to report. ….. This means that a mandatory child abuse reporter’s failure to comply with a state child abuse reporting law’s requirement to report a known or reasonably suspected incident of child abuse would render that person automatically liable for monetary damages without a need for the victim to prove actual negligence. [Doe v. Liberatore, 478 F.Supp.2d 742 (M.D. pa 2007)
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There have been significant changes to the Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Law.
There has been a change in who is identified as a Mandated Reporter. According to the law, “An individual, paid or unpaid, who, on a regular basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child…” This means any individual, who meets the above definition, which includes clergy, staff and volunteers is a Mandatory Reporter.
As a result, a church must:
- Require all clergy and other employees, who accept responsibility for a child, to take three (3) hours of Department of Human Services approved training no later than June 30, 2015
- For new employees, who will bear responsibility for children, this training must be taken within 90 days of hire or the beginning of volunteer service
- All employees over the age of 14 and adult volunteers (who are responsible for children) must complete background checks. All must complete the PA STATE POLICE CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD. All must complete the PA STATE POLICE CHILD ABUSE HISTORY CLEARANCE. All employees must complete the FEDERAL CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECK (with submission of fingerprints)
- Volunteers are currently not required to undergo Mandated Reporter training, but it is recommended.
- Clearance Procedure
- Mandated Reporter training and information go to https://pafsa.org and click on Resources for more information on mandated reporting. For training click on training and programs and click on mandated reporter training. (https://pafsa.org/mandated-reporter-training/)
Board of Pensions – 2022 Traditional Benefits Package
The Board of Pensions traditional benefits package is 37% of effective salary (Medical 27%; Pension 8.5%; Death and Disability 1%, and Temporary Disability .05%). If the effective salary is lower than the Medical participation minimum of $44,000., then the medical portion would be based on the Board of Pensions minimum effective salary.
The Pension (8.5%) and Death and Disability (1%) are based on the persons actual effective salary.