Financial Help for Churches

Dear rectors and wardens,

May the Lord Jesus uphold you in your leadership during this season of the pandemic.

I know that in several churches the giving last month was down as a result of the crisis we face as a country. Therefore, I wanted you to know that churches qualify for loans from the Small Business Administration to help with payroll. The loans will be forgiven if the employees remain on the payroll.

Below is what one of our rectors sent me about the Payroll Protection Plan. His parish submitted an application last week and was successful.

Below that are also some helpful documents.

You need to know that this financial boost is only available until the funding runs out, which could be soon.

The only advice I give is that you prayerfully consider it. I am no expert here. I do recommend that the vestry vote on making the application, a decision not by rector and wardens alone. The loan does have conditions that your congregation may or may not qualify for or wish to take on. A CPA in our diocese, who has applied on behalf of his own parish, is available to anyone interested. Please email Harris Willman for more information. 

In any case, may the Lord guide you in all the decisions ahead as we move through and beyond this crisis.

Have a blessed Easter.

In Jesus the Messiah,

+Neil

The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar
NLebhar@GulfAtlanticDiocese.org


Payroll Protection Plan:
As parishes navigate the uncertain economic waters of the next few months, the Diocese encourages each Rector and Vestry to consider participation in the Payroll Protection Program recently passed as part of the CARES Act of the U.S. Congress.

The "Paycheck Protection Program" (Sec. 1102 of the Act) provides for forgivable loans to be made to businesses, non-profits, sole-proprietors, independent contractors and others with 500 or fewer employees.  Churches are included under this act as they meet the definition of "non-profits."  Churches (I will use churches hereafter, although all covered entities are treated the same under the Act) can apply for a loan of up to 2.5x their average total monthly payroll costs for the preceding year not to exceed $10M.  Churches may use the loans to pay utilities, payroll costs, and mortgage interest (but specifically excludes pre-payment of principal).

Any portion of the loan which is used to pay utilities, payroll costs, and mortgage interest during the first 8 weeks of the loan will be forgiven. According to the Small Business Administration, 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll. Should the church payroll decrease during this time the forgivable portion of the loan will be accordingly reduced.

Nearly $350B has been set aside to make loans under this act. Among other items which it must certify, a church seeking to borrow under the Act must certify that "Current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.”

Rectors and Vestries are encouraged to consult with their chancellor and the bank with which they do regular business to apply, with an awareness that time is of the essence, as the demand for these loans is likely to far outstrip the current funds sets aside by the Federal government.