Finance in Yorkshire

Welcome to the part of the website devoted to the finances of the United Reformed Church here in Yorkshire. If you have any questions about the content or feel something is missing then please contact the Synod Office or Treasurer.

The Financial Resources Committee (FRC for short) is responsible for the Synod Finances but equally important is their role in enabling Churches to plan and organise their finances.  More details can be found here.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (New International Version)

Sources of Funding. Fund Raising – those two words are often enough to generate a headache for Treasurer and Church Member alike, but there are available resources out there.

For missionary and outreach projects, both large or small, click here for the grant application forms and associated guidance notes.

The Mission Fund Panel meets twice a year but is available to discuss your project and guide you through the application process.

Contact the Synod Clerk if you are unsure whether your project will qualify or if you have questions about the application forms and guidance notes.

Is your church embarking on building repairs or improvements?

If so the Synod offers interest free loans of up to £15,000 repayable over a period of up to 5 years.

Application for a loan would normally form part of the approval process for the work itself.
Churches apply for approval for building work using a form YOR01.

A copy of the YOR01 and guidance notes can be downloaded here.

Churches, with United Reformed Church owned property, are required to have a full building survey every five years and to send a copy of the report to the Trust & Property Secretary, who looks after the Survey Scheme.

A copy of the invoice needs to be submitted with the report and a grant of 25% of the survey cost is then payable to the church.

For really helpful information about caring for your church buildings here.

The Synod offers both Ministers and Churches the facility of loans to assist with the purchase of cars. Details can be found here and applications should be forwarded to the Office Manager.

Similarly there are loans avaiable to enable Ministers and Churches to purchase computers or other items of office equipment. If you are interested then details are to be found here.

If you have any questions then please contact the Office Manager.

The Synod has a small fund which distributes welfare grants, once a year, to Retired Ministers and Widows.

Application forms are sent out in March/April each year to those who have previously applied and to those who have recently retired.

If you are a Retired Minister, or know of one, who might value help from this fund then please contact the Office Manager in the first instance who will liaise with  the convener of the Welfare Fund Committee.



Car & Office Equipment Loans

Car Loans: The Synod makes car loans available to both churches and ministers. In both cases unless there are compelling reasons against, the assumption is that a loan will be made.

1) Churches should apply, in writing, directly to the Synod Office, describing the proposed purchase and enclosing copies of the church accounts for the past two years.

2) Ministers should apply, in writing, directly to the Synod Office, describing the proposed purchase.

3) Loans are made available from the General Purposes Fund of the Synod on the following basis:-

a) The current maximum loan is £5,000

b) Interest is calculated on the reducing balance and averaged over the repayment period. The current rate of interest is 3%

c) Repayments are made monthly, by bankers standing order.

d) The repayment period for new cars is three years and for second hand cars two years.

e) The car purchased should normally be of a popular and readily resalable model and should not normally be more than three years old at the time of purchase.

4) Ministers need to be aware that the level of £5,000 was set so that as long as the minister has no other beneficial loans they would not, under current guidelines, incur any tax liability.

Repayment examples
£5,000 for three years is £145.31 per month (other amounts pro rata)
£2,000 for two years is £85.94 per month (other amounts pro rata)

Synod Office
May 2011

Equipment Loans: The Synod makes loans available to ministers to assist in the purchase of Personal Computers and Other Office Equipment. In both cases unless there are compelling reasons against, the assumption is that a loan will be made.

1) Ministers should apply, in writing, to the Synod Office, describing the proposed purchase and enclosing details of how the purchase is to be funded.

2) Loans are made available from the General Purposes Fund of the Synod on the following basis:-

a) The current maximum loan is £1,000

b) Interest is calculated on the reducing balance and averaged over the repayment period. The current rate of interest is 3%

c) Repayments are made monthly, by bankers standing order.

d) The repayment period is a maximum of two years.

3) Additional Information

Assistance
The Synod Office is one source of information concerning computers, faxes, photocopiers and other office equipment but clearly the staff cannot be responsible for decisions taken to purchase certain items that subsequently prove to be unsuitable. However, the Office Manager is always willing to discuss any potential purchase.

Repayment examples
£1,000 for two years is £42.97 per month (other amounts pro rata)
£500 for one year is £42.35 per month (other amounts pro rata)

Synod Office
March 2011

Church Treasurers

If you’re reading this then you may be thinking of becoming a church treasurer, or have already been appointed to this important ministry.  Don’t panic!  There are resources available and other Treasurers around who are available to share experiences – see the Yorkshire Synod Handbook to see who is Treasurer of nearby churches. Firstly, the United Reformed Church has paid for every Treasurer to have a subscription to the Association of Church Accountants and Treasurers and you should have available the comprehensive looseleaf handbook and regular updates.

If you do not have this then please ask your predecessor about it or contact ACAT

Church Accounts

What sort of accounts do I need to prepare?

The choice is between simple Receipts and Payments Accounts or what are called Full Accrual Accounts.
Legally, provided the total church income is less than £250,000, you are free to prepare Receipts and Payments Accounts. However, if the income is above £100,000 you would normally prepare more detailed accounts as the Church would need to register with the Charity Commission.
Accrual Accounts take account of amounts and commitments that exist at the beginning and end of the financial year even though the actual receipts and paymenst may not have taken place.

So for most of our churches it will be simple Receipts and Payments Accounts

Charity Registration “Is it time to worry?”

We all know that United Reformed Churches are Charities but confusion usually descends when someone asks for the Charity Registration Number. This confusion is because our Churches have been excepted from registration – there is no number – something which many outside bodies such as banks and building societies struggle to understand.

The 2006 Charities Act has changed all that – but for most Churches there will be a time delay!!
The “excepting” regulations are being scrapped and all Churches will need to become Registered Charities. But the whole process has started with those Churches who have an income of more than £100,000. Those of us with an annual income of less than £100,000 will become involved in the next few years.  Using the experience of the first registrations, a Charity Commission review is currently underway (2012) with the intention of reducing or even scrapping the £100,000 limit.  Obviously this will depend upon Charity Commission resources.Our first five United Reformed Churches, here in Yorkshire, are now registered and any church whose income is regularly in excess of £100,000 needs to let the Synod know and contact the Charity Commission..  Local Ecumenical Projects, as ever, are more complicated but those with an income over the £100,000 level are currently working their way through the process.  We know of one in Yorkshire that is now registered.

So these are the registered churches:-
Beverley Toll Gavel (UM)    No. 1140314
Dewsbury, Longcauseway    No. 1129432
Harrogate, St Paul’s    No. 1128076
Otley, Bridge Church    No. 1128673
Roundhay, St Andrew’s   No. 1129283
Sheffield, Central    No. 1130271 

Inevitably there will be some churches who, because of grants for special projects or large legacies, will have an income that exceeds £100,000 for just one year.  In those circumstances you need to write to the Charity Commission, explain the circumstances and illustrate the problem by listing the total income of the church, in each of the last few years, to demonstrate that the income would normally be much lower.

By now most of the people reading this will have breathed a sigh of relief and thought “We don’t need to worry yet!”  BUT can we please issue a word of caution?
Although Churches are currently excepted from registration they are not excepted from the regulations outlined in the Charity Act.
We must follow the guidance of the Charity Commission and, in particular, produce Annual Accounts AND a Trustee’s Annual Report in the correct format.
And we must remember that these are publicly available documents that anyone can request whether it is a member of the congregation, the Charity Commission themselves or even the Synod Office!!

For guidance or advice please contact the Synod Office, refer to the sample documents below or explore the Charity Commission website.

Useful Documents

A variety of documents to download or links to useful sites – please contact the Office Manager if any of these links do not work or if you know of other helpful information that could be posted here.