KANSAS CITY, MO (June 26, 2015) – Paul Hawkinson, treasurer and executive director of finance, told delegates to The Evangelical Covenant Church 2015 Annual Meeting that the denomination finished fiscal 2014 with a $38,000 operating budget surplus.
Expenses were held 6.7% under budget – largely driven by trends in global missions, church planting, and general administration. “Global mission expenses were helped by the strengthening US dollar, and the pace of church plant appropriations slowed in 2014,” Hawkinson said.
Throughout his report, Hawkinson stressed the need to build long-term structural reserves in support of both sustained ministry investment while also protecting the significant financial commitments the denomination assumes. He also emphasized that budgets will have to be less dependent on bequest transfers which have been in recent decline.
He noted that all the broader ECC economy, including Covenant Trust Company, National Covenant Properties, Covenant Ministries of Benevolence and North Park University / Seminary represent roughly $1 billion in mission activity.
“I think we can more effectively serve our affiliates and partner together to create administrative savings that can be redeployed directly into ministry,” he said.
The wider ministry also includes the Covenant Pension Plan and Bethany Benefits.
The pension plan was strong with total assets of $221.8 million against $214 million actuarial liability for future benefits.
Bethany Benefit Service continued to experience strong enrollment. He noted that Bethany initially announced a 3.9 percent increase in benefits for 2015 but subsequently offered a premium holiday for June 2015. “This action lowered the effective annual rate by more than four percent,” Hawkinson said. “This is certainly counter to national trends.”
The plan covers more than 3,400 individuals, providing medical, dental, prescription drug, vision, life, and long-term disability benefits. Those covered include pastors, missionaries, office staff, surviving spouses, and families.