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Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs

The Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs is a comprehensive, user-friendly manual which supports the increasingly complex work of all treasurers and parish administrators. Includes forms, such as the Parochial Report Form, with instructions. The Manual is updated regularly. 

 

Section topics include Financial Management, Internal Controls, Taxes and the Episcopal Church, Bookkeeping, Clergy Discretionary Funds, Audit Guidelines for Congregations, Risk Management and Insurance, Parochial Reports, and Records Management. 

 

2023 Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs 

Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs – Spanish, 2019 

Stock Donation to Cash Service

This service provides churches and associated organizations of the Diocese the ability to accept donations of publicly traded stock and receive the proceeds of the stock sale without opening a brokerage account and paying brokerage fees.  

 

For those churches and associated organizations interested in taking advantage of this service, please complete the agreement found here  and send it to: Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, Attn: Director of Finance and Administration, 11832 Rock Landing Dr., Suite 100, Newport News, VA 23606-4231 or email to  jdobson@diosova.org. 

online giving

The Diocese of Southern Virginia and The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) are partners with Vanco Online. Vanco has worked with Episcopal parishes since their founding 30 years ago. As a Ministry Partner, they serve over 1,100 Episcopal parishes every day. They offer Episcopal congregations what they need to successfully connect with their worshipers, spread their message, grow giving and share their mission.  

Vanco offers Episcopal parishes 

  • Storytelling: Vanco Online is the web tool Episcopal congregations use to share their story. Use your own words and your own photos to tell worshipers what your church is doing and what causes you’re supporting.  
  • Engagement: Our free mobile app offers an easy way to stay in touch with your congregants, even if they can’t be together all the time. Online giving, communication, and seating capacity management in our easy-to-use app. 
  • True online church service: The way people worship has changed. Churches now need a way to make online worship as dynamic and inclusive as when everyone was in the sanctuary together. Vanco Live brings livestreamed services, giving, and member connection together.  
  • Pricing: Discounted group rates available because of our diocese’s partnership with Vanco. Much more.  

Click the button below to see why so many Episcopal parishes trust Vanco to foster stronger relationships with congregants and bring the warmth of their services online. 

Financial Audits (due September 1)

There is a canonical requirement that churches and their related institutions (i.e., ECW, preschool, etc.) have a yearly financial audit.

  • The primary purpose of a financial audit is to make sure that all monies and investments are properly accounted for and to protect the church assets.
  • An audit also protects any person handling the monies or investments of the church against suspicion or mishandling those assets.
  • Similarly, rectors, vestries, treasurers, and other persons holding fiduciary responsibilities may be liable for any losses, which would have been discovered by an ordinary audit but were not discovered because of failure to have an audit completed.

Churches and their related institutions with income of $650,000 or over must be audited or reviewed by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Churches and other diocesan institutions with income under $650,000 may have an audit by a person or persons other than a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The examination may be by an accountant, an audit committee, or a person approved by the diocesan office.

The audit report shall consist of:

  1. The Report of the Independent Auditor (or Audit Committee)

  2. Financial Statements (showing all finances of the church and related institutions)

  3. Audit Program Checklist (not required if audit was performed by a CPA)

  4. The Audit Committee Findings on Policies and Procedures

  5. A corrected Parochial Report because of audit adjustments, if applicable.

Churches and their related institutions will not be eligible for grants from the diocese if audit reports from the preceding two calendar years have not been submitted to the diocesan office. (Diocesan Canon VII.4.(f))

Audit Program Checklist & Instructions

Does your church have good internal controls?

Internal controls involves the protection of the church’s assets and the detection of thefts. If internal controls are designed correctly and implemented fully, it will deter all but the most determined or foolhardy thief.

 

To read more about internal controls see Chapter II of the Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs. Use the internal control questionnaire (page 12-18) as guidance for setting up an accounting system and for periodic review and evaluation of an existing accounting system. (You will also need a copy of the completed questionnaire for your annual church audit.)

Internal Control Questionnaire

Need a Church Audit?

Is your church’s revenue less than $650,000?

If your church’s revenue is less than $650,000 then your church can hire an accountant, form an audit committee, or hire a diocesan approved auditor to complete the audit. See Chapter VI of the Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs for audit instructions and the checklist for documents required for the audit. The audit, which includes the audit checklist, financial statements, and other documents needs to be submitted to the diocesan office by September 1.

The diocesan approved auditors are:

Evelyn McLaughlin

757-715-8166

evelyncooper41@gmail.com

 

Kenneth Ottey

757-537-1368

kottey59@yahoo.com 

Is your church’s revenue $650,000 or more?

If your church’s revenue is $650,000 or more then your church must hire a Certified Public Accountant to complete the audit.

If you have questions about financial audits, please contact:

Judy Dobson

Director of Finance and Administration

jdobson@diosova.org

757-213-3386.

Audit reports should be emailed to jdobson@diosova.org or mailed to: 

Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia

ATTN: Judy Dobson
11832 Rock Landing Dr, Suite 100
Newport News, VA 23606-4231 

Southern Virginia Diocesan Foundation

The mission of the Southern Virginia Diocesan Foundation is to provide financial and investment management assistance to parishes, congregations, missions, and agencies within the diocese, to assist in promoting the financial stability of the diocese and its member organizations, and to help provide such related services as may be considered necessary or desirable by the Southern Virginia Diocesan Foundation Board of Trustees to help support diocesan and parish activities. 

 

The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia organized a Virginia non-stock corporation known as the Southern Virginia Diocesan Foundation to provide its parishes, missions, and agencies with investment assistance. This corporation established a pooled investment fund known as the Diocesan Composite Fund in 1950 and has since operated it as a professionally managed, long-term investment vehicle for parishes, congregations, missions, and agencies within the diocese that desire or need investment assistance in managing their special purpose accounts. 

 

The Foundation is a charitable religious organization that operates under the auspices of the diocese and is managed by a Board of Trustees.  

 Any congregation may invest in the Diocesan Foundation. If your church would like to participate in the Foundation, please fill out the forms below and mail the completed forms and your check to Director of Finance and Administration Judy Dobson at the diocesan office. 

Forms

Interested in planned giving?

Performance of the Composite Fund

Fund Report – Fourth Quarter and Year End 2023: 

While 2023 was a challenging year, it ended on a very positive note. The Fund’s assets total $45,274,246, up approximately $7 million from the end of 2022. By way of further comparison, the Fund showed the following year end totals: 2021, $44.7 million; 2022, $38.2 million; 2023, $45.2 million. Further on the plus side, the Fund showed a 4th quarter gain, an encouraging sign. The Fund is still allocated within investment guidelines: 70% equities, 22% fixed income and cash, and 8% private equity and real estate. The holdings are well-diversified and high quality.  The estimated annualized income is $849,326.

 

The Fund had a total net return for the fourth quarter of 8.77%, net of fees. For the quarter, equities were up 11.69%, in line with the relevant index, and fixed income was up 5.55%, also in line with the relevant index. For 2023, equities were up 23.67%, better than the relevant index, and bonds were up 5.02%, in line with the relevant index. Overall, the Fund was up 16.51%, net of fees, slightly below the blended benchmark. Significantly, notwithstanding both the challenging year and the volatility occurring over the past 10 years, the average annual returns for both equities and fixed income continued above the relevant 10-year indices: equities at 9.63% and bonds at 1.83%. Overall, the 10-year Fund net of fees increased 6.74 %, above the relevant blended benchmark of 6.24%. The Fund continues to outperform the blended benchmark for the long term 3-, 5-, and 10-year periods.

 

Bonds are high quality, 90% Class A or better, and staggered in a barbell approach, 42% with 2-6 years maturity, and 35% with 20 years and more maturity. Bonds continue to be a hedge against equity performance.

 

Equities are overweight in large cap investments; they are well diversified and high quality. Growth holdings outperformed value stocks; domestic stocks outperformed international holdings. The Investment Manager, Bank of America, will continue underweight in international equities. For the fourth quarter, of the 21 investments, 4 outperformed the relevant index; 5 underperformed; 12 were in line with the relevant indices. For year-end 2023, 5 of the equity holdings outperformed the relevant indices; 5 underperformed; 11 of the equity holdings were in line with the relevant indices.

Church Indebtedness & Architecture Commissions

Consult when building, renovating, or acquiring major equipment 

Congregations are required to submit their plans to the Architecture Commission prior to beginning their work if they anticipate receiving diocesan financial assistance. The architecture review committee meets whenever there is a need for their review and will review your request and respond within 30 days. The goal of this committee is to assist the congregations by providing advice on site work, proposed structure, etc., as well as to protect the integrity of historic buildings. 

 

Our Canons provide that any parish may request (but is not obligated to do so) the Architecture Commission to review their proposed plans, with a request for comments and suggestions, but if the parish or mission is receiving or anticipates receiving any construction funds from the Diocese or a diocesan organization, the parish or mission must (i) submit to the Architect Commission its proposed plans, (ii) the construction must be supervised by an architect or licensed engineer and (iii) the construction contract must be approved by the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor. 

 

Click here to learn more about the architecture committee and the requirements relating to building

Helpful Publications