Notes from the Fiscal Office: Connectional Giving and FLSA Update

December 16, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are halfway through Advent as I write this. While the end of the year is upon us, it’s not too late to share with you how we’re doing with apportioned connectional giving. The news is good! Through November our receipts exceed those received through November 2015 and are at the best level in several years.  Thank you!  Find your church’s connectional giving results as of November 30 at this link. Churches are listed alphabetically within your district. If something looks amiss, please contact Sharon Beasley at sharon@awfumc.org or by calling 888-873-3127.

Your connectional giving makes so many things possible. Here are just a few of them:
  • Ministerial education in the form of continuing education, seminary scholarships and assistance with discerning one’s call;
  • Conference leadership from your superintendent to Bishop Graves and others who work to equip local churches;
  • Small Church Initiatives ;
  • Grants for new churches, revitalizing churches and campus ministries,
  • An affordable retired clergy health insurance plan.
If you’ve already achieved 100% of your 2016 connectional giving total or are on track to do so, thank you! If you’re not on track, please make every effort to achieve 100%. If that’s out of reach, a serious effort toward that end will make a difference in a person’s life.

Please ensure 2016 payments are received by Monday, January 9, 2017.

A Special Note: If your church is blessed with members who have the capacity to support the church through their invested assets, this is the best year in a long time to encourage offerings of appreciated stock. The Alabama West Florida United Methodist Foundation can help you with making donations of appreciated stock. Please contact either Heather Hornsby (heather@alwfumf.org) or Terri Turner (foundation@alwfumf.org) or by calling 334-793-6820 and ask for the information you’ll need to make a 2016 stock gift. Don’t wait too long though – while usually efficient, stock gifts, particularly mutual funds, can take several days to process. Stock gifts are liquidated and proceeds returned to the donor’s local church or as indicated in writing.

You may have learned, recently, that the federal court in the Eastern District of Texas granted a nationwide injunction blocking the enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rule. Employers are no longer required to meet the December 1 deadline. The ruling states that "the Department of Labor exceeded its authority when it raised the salary threshold."  

The planning you have done is good in that you are now in better compliance in determining the application of the exempt and non-exempt rules and time tracking of those employees that are non-exempt. Those rules were not changing in the existing law set to go into effect on December 1. So your work was NOT in vain. The only thing that this ruling does is leave the salary level for an exempt employee at $23,660 and that automatic increases are not lawful. (if you discovered you weren’t complying with FLSA in the first place, you don’t want to revert to non-compliance now.)
 
Wise Men came with the treasures of the earth in their hands… and left with the Treasure of Heaven in their hearts. Celebrating this Christmas because Jesus still gives us the greatest treasurer of all – HIMSELF!

Blessings to you,
 
Frank S. Dunnewind