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The PC(USA)’s balance sheet was affected but not devastated by the pandemic

Giving was impacted, but spending was down, and a rebounding stock market helped shore up 2020 finances

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation Board heard a better-than-expected financial report Thursday.

LOUISVILLE — The PC(USA)’s Controller, Denise Hampton, delivered a better-than-expected financial report Thursday during the quarterly meeting of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation Board.

According to preliminary figures, contributions during 2020 were down from 2019 as expected, by 14%, and Special Offerings — especially One Great Hour of Sharing, which came about just as the pandemic was taking its grip during the spring of 2020 — were down 26% from 2019.

Per capita contributions were down about $700,000, about 6%, Hampton said. “Contributions were not nearly as impacted as we thought,” Hampton said.

A Corp expenses were down by 1%, and Administrative Services Group services provided to the Presbyterian Mission Agency were more than $1.5 million less than projected, while those provided to the Office of the General Assembly were about $200,000 less than budgeted.

With markets roaring back during the fourth quarter of 2020, beneficial interest in pooled investments held by the Presbyterian Foundation for the long term were up more than $26 million, from about $362.8 million in 2019 to nearly $389 million in 2020. Those investment figures are also preliminary and could well change somewhat, Hampton said.

Hampton said church officials have not yet heard if last year’s $8.8 million Paycheck Protection Program loan will be forgiven. She said when the bank handling the loan reopens its portal, “we’ll be ready to apply for forgiveness.” She said she expects the entire amount will be forgiven.

“These results really are pretty amazing,” said A Corp President Kathy Lueckert. “We should give thanks to God. We are very thankful for those results.” She thanked a committee of ASG, PMA and OGA employees who have been meeting weekly to closely monitor cash flow as well as those taking a close look each month at income figures.

During the first day of two days of meetings, the A Corp board also heard Lueckert’s President’s Report.

Payment Card Industry compliance — Plans are in place to start annual PCI awareness training for staff involved with handling credit card information. Information Technology is working with vendors to get quotes on external and internal system penetration testing — in effect, testing if the system can be hacked. “We will change out some of the systems that are no longer as secure as they need to be,” Lueckert said.

Business continuity — A disaster recovery plan will be developed after business continuity plans have been completed. “We have had some experience over the last year,” Lueckert said of disaster recovery. “This will take us to the next level.”

Cybersecurity — Information Technology plans to increase cybersecurity awareness by offering employees more training. Topics will include working securely from home, top common cybersecurity threats for 2021 and introduction to ransomware.

ASG customer service survey — Research Services surveyed 125 individuals and reported a customer service score for ASG of 4.52 out of 5. “We have work to do, clearly,” Lueckert said, “but overall this is a very good report. We’re proud of ASG staff for the great service they provide.”

After about an hour meeting in closed session, board members announced no action had been taken.

Friday’s meeting includes this agenda:

  • Reports from the Finance, Operations and Budget and Nominating, Governance and Personnel committees
  • A discussion on the implications for the A Corporation and ASG on hosting the 225th General Assembly in 2022
  • Visioning for the A Corp
  • A review of upcoming meeting dates
  • Another closed session.

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