Happy Easter from the Regional Synod of Mid-America! During this uncertain times, the beauty of the risen Jesus is even more special. As our liturgy states, we have a “sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life” all because God raised Jesus from the dead.
At our upcoming Regional Synod of Mid-America Annual Session we will be exploring the formation of a new classis: Classis de las Naciones (Classis of the Nations). God is doing a new and amazing thing in Florida and in addition to our strong and healthy churches already doing ministry in Florida four new churches have been adopted with many more working through the process of training ministers and becoming part of the RCA. This movement is with English and Spanish speaking churches and is an exciting work of God that has caused us all to awe at his power. We ask that you pray for this meeting that is taking place via video conference on April 21.
The RCA and the Regional Synod of Mid-America have both reduced assessments for the second quarter of 2020 by 30%. More information from the RCA’s Chief Financial Officer Jillisa Tietsma on financial resources can be found HERE.
You can find all of the RCA’s COVID-19 resources HERE.
Previously we sent out information regarding how churches can take advantage of COVID-19 financial relief resources from the recent government stimulus package. Here is a brief overview of what is available:
- Recently there was a webinar from Church Law and Tax that is extremely helpful regarding the CARES Act. Specifically it talks about the Paycheck Protection Program and we believe this could be very helpful to our churches. You may have seen the registration link from the RCA’s CFO, Jillisa Teistma, there wasn’t much time to sign up for it and it already happened, so you may have missed it. I have a link to the recording of that webinar. You can watch it here: https://www.churchlawandtax.com/web/2020/april/churches-and-cares-act-helping-congregations-and-employees-.html. Make sure to download the handouts at the bottom of this screen when you click the link. Please note that these PPP loans will be forgiven if you use the funds according to the stipulations (essentially spend the money on payroll for 8 weeks). This is just like getting a grant. Your church should really apply for this with a local (they say regional) bank. Call your local bank and see if they are doing it.
- Here is a link to a summary of the Paycheck Protection Program that was developed by the US Chamber of Commerce. This also includes a checklist of items that may be required. One item that you may need is a tax determination letter indicating your 501(c)(3) status. Proof of inclusion on a group exemption roster suffices as proof of not for profit status under section 501(c)(3). If you need that proof please send a request to Angela Worthley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do fill out the application, you can go here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Application-3-30-2020-v3.pdf
- You can apply for a $10,000 grant through the Emergency Economic Injury Grant. This application may take 2 hours to complete and you may not qualify, but you could, and then you would get $10,000 for free. The 2 hours may be worth it. Perhaps someone in your congregation could do it and see it as a service to the church? The application is here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
RCA Global Mission wants to help fill the void many of us are feeling by not being able to gather together while also providing an additional resource to churches who have gone virtual. They are producing weekly video messages from your missionaries on the front-lines to bring hope, a sense of community, and stories of God’s goodness as the world wrestles with the COVID-19 pandemic. All videos will be posted on the RCA Global Mission Facebook page, the RCA Global Mission YouTube Channel, and also Faithward.org. We hope these videos are a helpful resource for you and your church during this season.
Recently, the RCA introduced Tithe.ly as an RCA-preferred vendor for electronic giving. If you’d like to watch a webinar recording of how Tithe.ly works, you can use this link. If you are ready to sign up, please click here to get started. This site is set up specifically for RCA-affiliated organizations. If you sign up through this page, you will get the special RCA rates.
The RCA is hosting some Retirement/Financial Workshops – On April 20 at 1pm Central there will be a “Maximize Social Security in Your Retirement Strategy” webinar will help you understand important Social Security claiming strategies: You will learn about strategies for claiming your Social Security benefit and how it fits with other income sources to create your retirement paycheck. You can register HERE.
Free Christian Counseling for Pastors and Church Employees – The RCA’s Board of Benefits Services Employee Assistance Program provides free, confidential Christian counseling either at at an outpatient clinic in your area or via an online telehealth session. Up to 3 sessions per issue are provided at no cost to any employee of an RCA church. Some common issues addressed are depression, anxiety, work-related problems, marital issues, family issues, substance abuse, and others. The 24 hour hotline number is (833) 244-2490. For more information click HERE.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA
While the impact of COVID-19 is not one that Camp Manitoqua could have forecasted, we rest assured that we love and serve a faithful God who does not socially distance Himself from His children and cares about the ministry happening on our grounds. Amidst these days of change and uncertainty, a generous donor gave us some great news. They are willing to match all donations up to $65,000 within the timeframe of April 13 – April 24, 2020. As a ministry, we consider your church as one that is crucial in supporting our mission and vision to see God’s Spirit change lives. Would you consider giving a one-time, tax deductible gift payable to Manitoqua Ministries? Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by our generous donor and allow us to continue ministering to thousands of summer campers and retreat guests. Should you choose to participate, you can click HERE.
All current events at Manitoqua are postponed with the hope that summer camp will still happen.