4 November 2022 |
Sunday afternoon, October 30, brought Randy Robinson, Treasurer of the North American Division (NAD), to the floor to discuss the remuneration and cost of living expenses. The policy of the NAD is to follow the consumer price index (CPI) for the U.S. in June of each year. Historically, the NAD has been behind on cost of living increases, with many years’ showing no increase or increase less than the CPI. Last year the cost of living allowance was raised by 5.4%. Cumulatively, Robinson reported, NAD employees are behind $900/month, since 2003, in their cost of living allowances’ not meeting inflation. This year’s inflation cycle is different from past years’ because it is solidly rooted in commodities employees use every day, and inflation in those categories, such as gas, food, and toiletries, is higher than the average inflation rate. The CPI in June showed a 9.1% inflation rate.
Church employees have certain expectations placed on them by their employer. Those with children are expected to send them to church schools. Even with the tuition assistance, the policy leaves a significant portion of the cost to the family. While not wanting to outright mention the expectation of tithe, Robinson hinted at it. He was not reserved in his reminder that with the policies in place at this time, most church employees had few opportunities to increase their family revenue through a second job.
The motion to raise cost of living allowances by up to 6% was passed. This will become effective on January 1, 2023, and organizations will have until July 1st to implement it. Several of the smaller conferences felt pressured by the increase, feeling that in order to accommodate the raise, at least one position would need to be cut or consolidated.
The Treasurer’s Report was issued on Monday morning. Robinson was pleased to announce a 10.35% tithe gain in 2021, half of which was brought in through Adventist Giving. So far, 2022 has kept up the pace and added another 1.46% increase collectively. In 2021, the NAD had over three months in excess of the recommended six months in working capital. Expenses are under budget for this year, and thus far, the NAD is showing healthy, better-than-last-year bottom lines.
NAD Undertreasurer Judy Glass gave the 2023 budget assumptions. They included the four-year glide path decreasing the remittance paid to the General Conference (GC). 2023 is Year 3. This coming year calls for a 1.5% decrease in tithe going to the GC, and this money will stay with the local conferences. The budget included sending an additional $4.25 million back to the local conferences and the 6% cost of living increase voted the day before. 85% of tithe is retained by the local conferences and unions.
Of the $166,723,000 tithe dollars expected to be received by the NAD in 2023, about $50,000,000 will be sent to the GC, and $38,000,000 will be used by the NAD. The remaining money is set aside for tithe sharing, evangelism, funding employee retirement accounts, Oakwood University, and the media ministry.
Image: Screenshot of the NAD livestream showing Judy Glass and how the NAD tithes will be used in 2023.