Financial - Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs)

Just how much does it cost to run West Hill United Church?

Doesn't the United Church pay us to have a church here?

Where does the money for West Hill come from?

What is the Mission and Service Fund?

Where does the Mission and Service Fund get its money?

How do we decide how much to pay our Minister and our other staff?

How much money should I be giving to the church?

Should I use envelopes?

If I have envelopes, why go on PAR?

What if I go on PAR and can't make my commitment?

How do I set up or increase my PAR contribution?

Can I make a donation in memory or celebration of someone even if they've never attended West Hill?

Are there other ways for me to financially support the church?

Just how much does it cost to run West Hill United Church?

In 2009, it will cost $245,000 to run the church. That breaks down to over $4,700 weekly and $675 a day. In addition, we’ll donate $5,000 to outreach projects and over $20,000 to the UCC’s Mission & Service Fund. Unlike many churches whose properties require increasingly larger portions of their budgets, most of our expenses are in the area of programming and seen in the form of salaries.

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Doesn’t the United Church pay us to have a church here?

No. In fact, it works the other way around. Each year we forward money, roughly $4,400 in total this year, to presbytery, our overseeing body and over $20,000 to the Mission and Service Fund at the national level. Some of the money makes its way to the conference, another level of governance, which provides support to congregations and pastoral staff.

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Where does the money for West Hill come from?

Last year 75% of our funding came from donations made by members, adherents, and guests of the congregation. Property revenues from groups using our facility made up close to 10%, slightly higher than usual. Fundraising yields various amounts from year to year. Last year it covered 6% of our expenses. Some of our programs cover their own costs, like the advertising in the Salt Shaker and we receive incidental income periodically like the greening grant for an energy audit last year. Because we didn’t cover our expenses last year, 6% of our budget was drawn down from reserves.

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What is the Mission and Service Fund?

The Mission and Service Fund is a unified fund managed by the General Council of the United Church that covers all the administrative and mission costs of the wider church. This includes theological training centres, emergency response to situations of crisis around the world, oversees ministry personnel, chaplaincies in hospitals and prisons, participation in global movements such as climate change and the eradication of poverty, and support to local ministries and social justice projects, etc. top

Where does the Mission and Service Fund get its money?

Like the local congregation, the wider church is dependent upon gifts from church members and adherents to support its ministries. The Mission and Service Fund also receives gifts from the United Church’s endowment and trust funds as they are needed from time to time.

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How do we decide how much to pay our minister and our other staff?

The United Church of Canada annually publishes a schedule of salaries for ministerial staff and their equivalents. Salaries are based on years served with incremental categories for the first 14 years of service. Our minister, with 18 years of service, falls within the maximum pay increment possible.  Ministerial staff also receive a housing allowance. Religious organizations are still supported through Canada’s taxation laws and are able pay reduced salaries by recognizing a portion as a housing allowance which ministerial staff are able to deduct on their personal income tax returns.  Other staff are remunerated at rates com-parable to those in the private sector. Annual increases are set by the national office for ministerial staff. West Hill applies these cost of living increases to all its staff. Our Ministry and Personnel Committee oversees all the staffing concerns at the church including salaries and benefits.

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How much money should I be giving to the church?

Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t give ‘til it hurts.  You should give until it feels good. Circumstances are different for every house-hold and we can’t tell you what amount you should be giving. But we do know that people who put the things that matter most to them at the forefront of their household’s financial stewardship are more likely to be happy with how their finances play out over the long run than are those who don’t pay much attention to them. If West Hill is a place of meaning for you, reflect that meaning in your financial plan for your household. We promise you’ll feel good about it.

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Should I use envelopes?

Absolutely. The envelope system guarantees that you will receive a receipt for your donations at the end of each calendar year (well, usually in February). Because West Hill is a registered charity, you can deduct a percentage of the amount you donate to it from your taxable income and that amount can be quite significant. The envelopes are organized by a numbering system which means that your personal information is known only to those who need to know it. In every other situation, like the counting that takes place after church, only your number is ever recorded. To register for an envelope number, contact the Envelope Steward through the Stewardship email listed below.

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If I have envelopes, why go on PAR?

Our PAR program makes it easy for people like us and for the church. With life as crazy as it sometimes is and our ability to get to church every week challenged by so many different things, PAR means that we know we’re still meeting our commitment and our givings are still getting to where they’re needed. You’ll still have an envelope number to maintain your privacy and you can always use your envelopes to give a little more or make a special gift if and when you’re moved to do so.

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What if I go on PAR and can’t make my commitment?

Circumstances change. We all know that. If yours do and you’ve been donating to the church by PAR, simply contact the envelope steward and ask to have your gifts reduced in amount. Depending on what day of the month you contact him/her, it may be that your donation cannot be changed until the next cycle. If that is the case, we’ll make sure the difference is in your hands before the amount comes out of your account.

How do I set up or increase my PAR contribution? top

That’s easy, but it’s going to take a signature.  Send an email to the stewardship email address, below. Place a signed PAR authorization form (or, more simply, a note) with the amount you’d like your donation or increase to be (along with a void cheque if it’s a new account) in a sealed envelope marked “Envelope Steward.” Deposit your envelope on the offering plate or in the Inbox marked “Administrator,” located opposite the office door, or mail c/o Envelope Steward to 62 Orchard Park Drive, Toronto ON, M1E 3T7.

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Can I make a donation in memory or celebration of someone even if they’ve never attended West Hill?

Of course you can. Celebrating someone’s life through a donation to the church is a beautiful way to honor them or their memory. Doing so when West Hill is a place that has meaning for you is even more significant. Gifts can be made directly to the operating account to help with everyday expenditures or to the Memorial Fund where it will be accrued with other gifts until a special purchase is made. Previous such purchases have been the video system, the grand piano and the keyboard.

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Are there other ways for me to financially support the church?

There are many ways to support the church. Some are pretty straightforward, like augment-ing a PAR contribution or making a special donation in someone’s honour. Others are more complex such as the contribution of publicly traded securities as a way to avoid capital gains income that can trigger higher income taxes. Some take the longer view and include the purchase of life insurance policies for which the premiums are tax deductible, an excellent choice for established households upon the receipt of substantial inheritances, another cause of increased income taxes. West Hill has often been remembered in the wills of those who have been active in the church. Often when members of the congregation have died, families honour their relationship with the church by requesting donations to West Hill in lieu of flowers. It’s a way to celebrate how their loved one chose to live. From time to time, when we have been in particular need, a few able households have contributed large sums of money as loans allowing the congregation to build itself and its revenues over time. If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact us through the stewardship email address.

stewardship@westhill.net

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