A1 The Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (OCMBC) Emergency Pastoral Support Fund (EPSF) is designed to provide emergency support for local churches whose pastoral staff member has encountered an unforeseen special financial need and where, while there is no legal obligation on behalf of the church to provide financial assistance through the particular event or circumstance, there is clearly a moral and Biblical one.
A2 Examples of unforeseen special financial needs that might qualify for accessing these funds include:
* requisite professional counselling beyond existing health or insurance coverage
* requisite emergency medical coverage for items not covered by OHIP or insurance
* emergency travel due to a serious family illness or death in the immediate family
A3 For purposes of this fund, a ‘pastor’ is a paid OCMBC church employee who regularly provides spiritual and administrative leadership. A pastor’s dependents may also qualify for support. OCMBC employees would also qualify to receive the EPSF where it is warranted.
B1 Only the local church can access available EPSF funds, not the recipient pastor. Such funds will therefore be dispersed by OCMBC to the recipient pastor through the local church. The agreement to access the fund where appropriate is therefore with the church and not the recipient pastor, with the sole exception of a recipient conference staff person.
B2 The EPSF may only be accessed where the church is not in a financial position to provide adequate financial assistance themselves. It is by no means intended to be the primary source of funding for the pastor, and should be accessed only after the church has exhausted all other available financial resources.
B3 The fund is not to be used to help churches pay a pastor’s salary or other standard compensation requirements as is normal for the position they hold.
B4 The pastor must be in good standing with the church at the time of the event or incident. In order to receive the ongoing support of the EPSF, the pastor does not have to remain part of the staff of the church. (In the case of marital infidelity, for example, the church might help pay for individual and/or joint marital counselling, but the pastor will have stepped down or been removed from his/her official position.)
B5 Support for any given situation should not exceed $2,500 a month and no more than $12,000 for 12 months from the time of the event or incident. Support will not extend beyond 12 months.
B6 Churches accessing the EPSF must provide copies of their financial books to either the Faith and Life Team or Regional Church Extension Team, depending on their accountability, at either team’s request.
B7 This remuneration from the employing church requires that it is reported by the employer as taxable income to the employee and the normal payroll deductions must be withheld. The remuneration may be used, within the established limits, by the employing church to make payment of the amounts withheld from the employee and required employer portions to CRA.
C1 Primary oversight of the fund is administered through the Faith and Life Team.
C2 The EPSF does not require a quorum vote of the Faith and Life Team to be released, as time is of the essence in the type of emergency situations for which these funds will be used. Rather, funds may be released when any four of the following five people agree:
OCMBC Assistant Moderator
Faith and Life Team Chair
Regional Church Extension Team Chair
Director of Church Extension
OCMBC employees may not approve funding for themselves.
C3 The Conference Minister and the Faith and Life Team Chair should follow through with FLT to ensure appropriate pastoral care and followup appropriate to the event or situation.
C4 Where privacy is an issue, discretion ought to be applied; however, enough detail needs to be provided in order to warrant the release of the funds.
D1 The basic fund should always float between $10,000 and $25,000.
D2 The OCMBC will initially resource the fund to establish a base of $20,000. Each year thereafter they will add $2,500 to the fund except in years when the fund has reached its maximum capacity of $25,000.
D3 When the fund drops below $10,000, the OCMBC, through the Leadership Council, should seek to re-establish a means whereby the fund can be restored to its minimum level of $10,000.
D4 Unlike other conference budget items, this fund is maintained from year to year and its resources are not returned to the OCMB at the end of the fiscal year if they have not been used. By nature, use of the fund is unpredictable on a year by year basis. While It is possible to go several years without ever accessing it, it is only good planning to have it available when needed.