The buck stops at the border

Simpson Hall on Nyack College campus; home base for many delegates during the URCNA Synod 2012

A federation with churches in two countries—Canada and the United States—faces the problem of money flow. In this case the flow of money from north to south, from Canada to the U.S., is becoming increasingly clogged, and the mechanism in place to meet the challenge is no longer sufficient.

The Joint Venture Agreement (JCA) of the URCNA is not able to distribute funds from Canadian churches to American charitable causes and will no longer accept such monies.

When the JVA was established, the plan was that it would facilitate the distribution of financial gifts from URCs in Canada to URC causes in the United States. But tightening of restrictions on the transfer of funds outside of Canada has resulted in the unhappy situation of the JVA holding some funds intended for American charities without being able to forward them to those specific causes. Forwarding those funds is impossible unless the charity has a controlling percentage of Canadian representatives on its board.

Canadian treasurer Pam Hessels was on hand at Synod and was granted the privilege of the floor in order to help explain the problem.

“What is the role of the corporation?” she asked. “Do you want to lose control of 51% of your ministry?”

She said the requirements basically mean that a Canadian organization must have control to meet federal government requirements.

While the JVA will continue to pay for federational expenses, such as Stated Clerk remuneration, it will no longer collect monies for non-Canadian charitable causes. It will explore options for distributing the existing monies it holds, although it is very likely that those funds will not go to the causes for which they had been designated.

Rev. Neal Hegeman, Academic Vice President at Miami International Theological Seminary (MINTS), described the “sister-church” oversight of his work and encouraged missionaries and church planters to consider similar arrangements by developing sponsoring relationships with Canadian churches as well as American churches.

In other financial news, the The US Board of Directors was granted authority to appoint interim board members and a treasurer should it become necessary. Synod thanked Rev. Richard Stienstra for his years of service on the Canadian Board of Directors and gave him a hearty round of applause.

Synod adopted a budget with suggested “askings” of $13.60 per family.

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2 thoughts on “The buck stops at the border

  1. I believe it would be accurate to say that the URCNA would meet its budget if every family gave $13.60. But the really important thing is the intentional use of the term “askings” (which seems awkward to me) to convey that contributing to federational expenses is entirely voluntary. It’s a reaction to historical experiences with required funding of a top-heavy hierarchy.

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