ESTES PARK, CO (June 29, 2011) – The Evangelical Covenant Church recorded a surplus of $21,000 for fiscal year 2010, Treasurer and Director of Pensions Dean Lundgren told delegates during today’s business session of the 126th Annual Meeting.
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Lundgren commended Covenanters for their generosity in contributing to international development and relief. Over the past six years, Covenanters have donated $7.4 million, an average of $1.23 million per year. Paul Carlson Partnership has raised $5.4 million over the past six years – an average of $890,000 – to address health, poverty and education issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“In aggregate, total five-year combined contributions to both Covenant World Relief and Paul Carlson Partnership and $1 million of Haiti Earthquake Relief is $13.8 million!” Lundgren enthused. So far this year, Covenanters have contributed $272,000 in Japan relief funds and $13,000 in tornado relief funds, Lundgren said.
Bethany Benefit Services continued to expand coverage while keeping rate increases far below national averages. Over the past nine years, annual increases have averaged less than five percent. Lundgren said many group health plans have averaged double-digit annual increases.
In comparison with the rest of the marketplace, Lundgren said, aggregate savings for local Covenant churches have amounted to several million dollars per year.
Rates for 2011 actually are 4.3 percent lower than in 2010 because of a premium waiver to churches this month (June). As a result of the waiver, congregations have saved more than $1 million, Lundgren pointed out.
Bethany also assisted churches in receiving more than $500,000 in tax credits for 2010, as noted in a previously published Covenant News Service story. That amount could grow to at least $2 million next year as churches prepare for the newly instituted credits that are part of healthcare reform legislation.
Over the last 18 months, Bethany has had the best financial experience in its approximately 15 years of existence, Lundgren said.
The Covenant Pension Plan remains strong, Lundgren said. The plan covers 2,077 individuals, including 1,077 active pastors and missionaries, as well as 416 retirees and 134 surviving spouses who are receiving monthly payments. Payments to retirees and surviving spouses were $6.7 million, up just over $1 million in 1988.
The pension plan is fully funded, Lundgren said. By comparison, the average corporate plan is 85 percent funded and public plans 70 percent funded on average.
The Covenant plan has fully recovered from the stock market downturn, he reported. As of April 30, the value of the plan since the bottom of the 2009 market has increased $76 million.
The assets of National Covenant Properties (NCP), which provides loans to local churches for building programs, increased 4.8 percent to $341 million. More than 85 percent of Covenant churches with loans have them through NCP. Of all Covenant churches, 30 percent have loans with NCP.
Assets managed by Covenant Trust Company (CTC) increased 9.2 percent to $436.5 million. CTC wrote $17.8 million in new agreements, nearly 48 percent of which was written to benefit local Covenant churches, camps and conferences.