by Tim Dyck, Executive Director
When the COVID-19 crisis first arrived on the scene in Canada, the Board of Trustees was very concerned about the effects of the economic downturn on Church and Conference giving. However, in the first nine months of 2020, EMC expenses are down, revenues are up, and we have a surplus at the three-quarters mark of the year. Praise God for this wonderful news! Part of the reason for the surplus in October is due to receiving a major gift earlier this year, but the overall picture is still very positive.
EMC national staff moved quickly to work from home and the office was closed during the month of April. Prayer teams were canceled; staff returned home from overseas and canceled all subsequent travel. Trustees requested that discretionary expenses be minimized. All of this resulted in lower expenses for the first nine months of 2020.
What was not expected was the strong support for both local church and EMC ministries. Revenues at EMC in the month of March were considerably lower than previous years and it looked as though the dire predictions of funding shortfalls would be realized. In May, the Trustees sent a survey to all EMC churches, asking about giving in their settings. With few exceptions, the churches indicated that giving in their church remained on par and that they expected to meet budget by the end of the year.
There is still a great deal of uncertainty moving forward into the coming years. The economic recovery in Canada is still shaky, and the second wave of the virus in the fall could have devastating effects. For this reason, the General Board has agreed that EMC should plan to reduce the budget for 2021, while remaining hopeful that support will continue to be strong.
Praise God for faithful donors in EMC churches who continue to give to support the ministries of the local church. Praise God also for the faithfulness of churches who pass along the finances needed to carry out EMC ministries we do together in Canada and beyond.
*Note: This article originally appeared in the July 2020 issue of The Messenger. It has been updated to reflect the financial picture to October 2020. As of October 2020, the EMC has a surplus of just over $178,500.