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.
We are not able to do the reading of the session minutes in the usual way this year because of the spread of the coronavirus. Our best and safest option will be to try and do this remotely.
- A list (including contact information) pairing churches for reading each other’s minutes along with the checklist (Session Minute Review Form 2019) to follow when examining the records has been sent to all clerks.
- As noted on the top of the page of the checklist, each clerk should fill out a copy of this form for your church’s minutes and send it with the minutes to your partner. This will make it easier for them to quickly go to the referenced pages to locate, for instance, opening prayers for each meeting, etc., rather than to have to cull manually through the entire document looking for this information. It is a great time saver.
- Please contact your partner to see how they wish to receive a copy of your church’s 2019 minutes and checklist: electronically or printed.
- Submit a copy of your minutes and checklist to your partner. Your partner should receive them no later than Monday, September 14, 2020. You’ll have four weeks to review your partner’s minutes.
- We will meet together via Zoom on Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. A link for the meeting will be sent earlier that week. Have your partner’s minutes and checklist in hand. (I’ll explain how the meeting will function when I send the September email with the pairings.)
- When our review session is complete, you will have 10 days (Tuesday, October 27, 2020) to mail to me at the presbytery office, the completed checklist of the minutes you read. Please also include the original last past of your church’s 2019 session minutes for my signature.
- Once I receive the completed checklist from your partner, I will stamp the original last page and return it to you, indicating the minutes had been reviewed.
Thank you for your attention to this important process, and the leadership you provide your congregation and the presbytery in this way. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at .
Copies of the following documents are requested for the Presbytery church files:
- Property deed (s)
- 2019 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
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:
- New Church Development – projects that reflect commitment to inclusiveness and diversity and/or include opportunities for partnerships with existing churches and/or the presbytery; outreach to unchurched communities will be considered.
- Education – opportunities for spiritual growth and theological understandings for groups, all ages, will be considered.
- Mission related travel – travel expenses for groups interested in peacemaking, evangelism, work camps, community revitalization, or addressing poverty will be considered.
- Seed money for new projects – projects that promote peacemaking, environmental stewardship and greening, poverty relief, community revitalization, and other local issues will be considered.
Please submit application 3 months before anticipated expenditure.
In general, the Presbytery will not grant requests for funding for personal expenses, capital projects, or equipment.
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
- Board of Pensions – Benefits Plan at a Glance
- Board of Pensions – Quick facts & dues schedule 2020
- 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
- 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Samples you may edit to fit your church:
Honorariums for Moderating & Pulpit Supply
Pulpit Supply List-Lehigh Presbytery – 12.4.2019
Standard IRS Mileage Rate – information on current IRS mileage rate
|Moderate a Session
or Congregational Meeting
|$75 + travel expenses*|
|One Service||$150 + travel expenses*|
|Two Services (Same Day)||add $50 to the above for each additional service on the same day|
|* Travel includes mileage at IRS rate (2020 rate to be determined) + tolls|
Salary & Housing: $49,432
Full Pension & Medical:$18,283
(37% of Salary & Housing: Medical 25% [minimum dues basis for medical is $44,000], Pension 11%, Death & Disability 1% [dues based on actual effective salary])
Reimbursement: Transportation @ IRS approved rate – $.575/mile (2020), Continuing Education – two weeks + $750 [may accumulate to six weeks and $2,250], Vacation – one month
$39.10 per member
Breakdown: $27.75 Lehigh Presbytery; $8.95 PC(USA) General Assembly; $2.40 Synod of the Trinity
- Clerk of Session Form 2020
- Church Per Capita & Mission Remittance Form
- 2020 Mission Support PLEDGE FORM
- Lehigh Presbytery Mission Grant Application
- Interim Pastor Contract Template
- Temporary Supply Contract Template
- Pulpit Supply Contract Template
- Pastoral Call Form – 2020 – for new calls
- Terms of Call Form 2020 – Revised – 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 Decennial Filing in 2021.
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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2020 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving Announced
IR-2019-215, Dec. 31, 2019
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2020 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half cent from the rate for 2019.
- 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down 3 cents from the rate for 2019.
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
To read the entire notice visit their website at:
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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 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 and any volunteer who has lived in PA for fewer than the last ten continuous years 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.
Board of Pensions – 2020 Traditional Benefits Package
The Board of Pensions traditional benefits package is 37% of effective salary (Medical 25%; Pension 11%; Death and Disability 1%). 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 (11%) and Death and Disability (1%) are based on the persons actual effective salary.