Property & Finance Workshop -handouts & information

The following Memorandum was sent to parishes following the Property & Finance Workshops held in July 2016. there are a number of links in this memo to take you to some helpful supporting information etc:

This is a follow-up to the Property and Finance Workshops held on 13th & 14th July at Papatoetoe -St Johns Church and Takapuna -St Georges Presbyterian Church.  These were well attended with 62 attendees at St Johns and 32 at St Georges.

PROPERTY:  In the property section we covered or touched on: responsibilities; maintenance; changes requiring Property Trustees approval; transitional arrangements; health and safety; earthquake standards; the Property Handbook and the Management Guidelines.  Handouts were provided for most of these subjects.

The importance of the Church Council getting an annual review of the properties that it has a responsibility for was emphasised and the email from Northern Presbytery dated 29th June which had an attached reporting form was discussed (http://www.northpres.org.nz/resources/for-session-clerks-elders/church-council-review-of-properties/). The form has deliberately been kept simple. It can be completed and submitted electronically. Church Councils should ensure that this review of all their properties is carried out within the next 12 months with a copy of the report being sent to Northern Presbytery.  This should avoid the need for the Presbytery having to carry out an Inspection which the Book of Order requires each 6 years, with the cost falling back on the parish.  If parishes want a person to undertake the review for them the Presbytery can put them in touch with someone who can carry it out at a reasonable cost – (estimate for 6 hours $300).

The Church Property Trustees Property Handbook has been revised with much more information (http://www.northpres.org.nz/resources/for-session-clerks-elders/church-property-trustees-handbook/ ).  The Summary Provisions have also been revised including new dollar levels for works requiring Presbytery and Church Property Trustees approval.  In this case the previous $20,000 level has been increased to $50,000.  Parishes are strongly recommended to access the revised Property Handbook.

The other significant property message delivered at the workshops was that the Property & Finance Work Group of Presbytery is available to work with parishes who are considering a reconfiguration – whether it be a merger, amalgamation, incorporation or any other form of restructuring.  The message with respect to the property and finance aspects is that understandings can be reached prior to a congregation making a decision on moving forward with a change.

FINANCE: The finance presentation largely revolved around the requirements for all churches to comply with the new Public Entity Reporting Standards. Discussion was focused around “handouts” that were from some selected PCANZ website material and some copies of a presentation made available from Peter Conaglen of Integrity Audit which gives a very helpful auditing perspective on the main issues of this legislative requirement. The key message for treasurers is that with our financial balance date of 30 June 2016 a set of financial statements must be prepared in the new XRB format and filed with the Charities Services by 31 December 2016. Your Charities status is at risk if this action and deadline is not met.

Considerable detail and supporting information, questions and answers and templates are available on both the PCANZ and Charities Commission websites (http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/for-parishes/treasurers-information-church-management-support-guide ).

Some discussion and questions were asked regarding the use, costs, support and availability of Zero software. Brendan Sweeney, Finance Manager of PCANZ has been asked if a specific presentation could be made in Auckland on this topic. He is considering options and dates for us. Where parishes have specific issues in meeting these new mandatory requirements they need to urgently make these known to either Presbytery or Brendan Sweeney who has some specific “budget and support advice” available.

Doug Lendrum

Convenor, Property & Finance Workgroup, doug.lendrum@saintdavids.org.nz

Further Resources from Workshops on Property & Finance are available below:

Guidelines for Northern Presbytery Parishes wishing to proceed with a Major Development

Governance & Management in the Context of Running a Parish

Property Workshop PowerPoint

Also refer to Chapter 16 of the Book of Order & Chapter 16 of the Supplementary Provisions here