Over the last five months, the coronavirus pandemic has launched our world Church into unanticipated challenging financial times. In response to the financial needs across the Lake Union, COVID-19 stimulus checks totaling $600,000 were mailed on July 20 to the five local conferences. These funds were given in partnership with the North American Division (NAD).
In June 2020, recognizing the financial challenges facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America due to COVID-19, the NAD voted a $10 million stimulus package. This stimulus package was divided into three parts:
1) Five million distributed to nine unions and Guam. These funds were unrestricted, two thirds tithe and one third non-tithe. The only requirement was for the funds to be used for COVID-19 financial needs. These funds were issued and received by the Unions/Guam mid-July.
2) Three million to be distributed to the nine unions and Guam during the last quarter of 2020.
3) Two million available for Advent Source, Adventist Information Ministry, Christian Record Services, Media Ministries, North American Division Evangelism Institute, Oakwood University, Pacific Press and Seminars Unlimited. Part three funds would be distributed on a need only basis.
“The Lake Union and the local Conference administrative teams would like to express our deep appreciation and thanks to NAD Chief Financial Officer, Randy Robinson, together with the NAD administration team for making these funds available to the division field,” said Lake Union Treasurer, Glynn Scott.
The NAD funds received totaled $400,000 and the Lake Union matched these funds at 50%, for a total distribution to the local Conferences of $600,000. These funds were distributed back to the local Conferences on a tithe pro-rata basis, as follows:
Lake Region: $90,000
The Lake Union stimulus funds represent the second in a multi-plan of financial assistance to local conferences during this COVID-19 pandemic. During the first round of assistance to the conferences, support was given to churches unable to make monthly mortgage payments to the Revolving Fund. Provisions were made for churches to pay interest only for a four-month period.
The administration of the Lake Union continues to evaluate the financial situation of our churches and conferences during these challenging financial times, along with ways to reduce operational cost, with the goal of providing all the financial support possible to the local conferences for mission and ministry.
“Ministry and mission happen at all levels of our church,” said Scott. “However, an important foundation of our core evangelism and witness ministry takes place at the local conference/church level. As a result, union support is important, as we partner together for the building up of God’s Kingdom.”
Debbie Michel, associate director of Communication, Lake Union Conference