In early March, through his collegial connections Jonathan became aware that churches were eligible for federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Stimulus loans.
The following is a summary of information, as it relates to churches, regarding the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) passed by Congress:
Churches are eligible to apply for PPP loans. The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as:
- The loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the 8-week period after the loan is made; and
- Employee and compensation levels are maintained.
- Proceeds used for other purposes will have to be repaid.
After receiving this information, Jonathan shared it with our Church Officers and then the question of whether to apply or not was brought before the Church Board on March 8. After thoughtful deliberation, the Board voted unanimously to apply for PPP loans for the Church and for the FCC Congregational PreSchool. We also applied for a Federal Stimulus grant of $10,000.
Some of the reasons for the enthusiastic embrace of the Board for these actions include:
- This Pandemic is going to be something we are living with and through for some time to come and we are just beginning to see the economic and social ramifications of our need to shelter in place.
- We want to retain our excellent staff as we make our way through this crisis. And as long as we retain our staff, these loans will be forgiven.
- We know some of our members will be financially vulnerable in the coming months and we don’t want to have to count on pledges they may no longer be able to afford.
- We want to remain fiscally strong and thus able to provide financial assistance to our parishioners that are in need and request our help.
- After our building closed in March our income from pledges went down dramatically from $47,000 last year to only $17,000 this year. Although this March of 2020 figure was rendered significantly lower by other factors, and our income for the month of April was significantly better, we know that we cannot expect everyone to fulfill their pledges for the year due to the economic downturn.
- We will not be able to hold church services for a period of some months and so our collections will be down, significantly. Also, all our outside groups who offer contributions have stopped using our building. Some groups have asked for a refund of their annual fee. Although our expenses will also be down a majority of our church and preschool budget is still committed to paying our respective staff members.
- We want to support and retain our excellent preschool staff of 12 teachers and our Director. Although some of the preschool parents have kindly and generously continued to pay tuition after the school was closed in March, most of our parents were unable to do so.
The Good News:
On May 2, we received word that the church was awarded a PPP forgivable loan of $84,800 and a $10,000 federal grant. Our preschool also received a $33,800 PPP forgivable loan.
Special thanks to our bookkeeper, Kim Dorr, who worked diligently on providing the necessary information to our bank and kept on top of the process which had several twists and turns along the way.
Even though our building is closed, our church staff continues to work diligently on our behalf, interacting with parishioners, providing help for those in need, participating in online worship services, helping us all stay in contact with each other. Congregational PreSchool teachers are connecting with families and providing ongoing educational opportunities and materials for their students. We are very pleased that the PPP will allow us to continue to pay them for their work.
We are also deeply grateful for the continued support of our dedicated and caring members as we continue to touch lives and support our community during this most difficult era. Thanks to you, we are able to keep our ministry vital, active and responsive to the needs of this crisis. Thank you.
If you have any questions please contact Pastor Jonathan at (541) 636-7211 or our Treasurer, Clark Compton at email@example.com.
Take care and God bless.