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For Administration Resources click here.

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 

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



Kenneth Ottey


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


Audit reports should be emailed to 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. 


Interested in planned giving?

Performance of the Composite Fund

Fund Report – Second Quarter 2023: 

The second quarter of 2023 showed a nice bounce back from 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. This recovery was driven by the totally unanticipated strength in the equity market: Dow was +8.2; Nasdaq was +35.8; S & P 500 was +20; Russell 1000 Growth was +32.1; Russell 1000 Value was +8.6; Russell 2000 Small Cap was +12.5.


The Fund began the year at $39.3 million; it has grown to $43.4 million, an increase of 10.4%. The Fund was allocated 68% equities, 23% fixed income and cash, and 9% private equity and real estate. The estimated annualized income is $831,263. The Fund is high quality and very well diversified. 


The Fund had a positive net return for the second quarter of 4.74%, slightly better than the relevant index of 4.17; equities returned 7.27%, more than 1 point above the relevant index; fixed income continued to be difficult, -0.61%, but better than the index of -0.75%; private equity showed a 0.62% gain. For the preceding 12 months, the Fund total, net of fees, was up 11.83%, compared to the overall index of 11.50%. The first half 2023 strong performance was reflected in equities, which were up 14.48%, compared to the index of 13.93%. Longer-term performance, 3-, 5- and 10-year numbers, continued to remain positive, all exceeding the relevant indices.


Seven equity funds outperformed their relevant benchmarks; 9 funds underperformed; 3 funds were in line with the relevant benchmarks. In the second quarter, value funds continued to outperform growth funds; large cap funds outperformed small cap. Fixed income investments continue to be high quality, 89.4% are grade A or better. 


The Fund’s manager, Bank of America/U.S. Trust, predicts that the second half of 2023 will be very interesting. In the short term, the Federal Reserve has again raised rates. Corporate earnings will show mixed results. BOA predicts a mild recession and a continuing volatile market. Concern still exists for inflation, although it is down a large amount from a year ago. The consumer and labor markets continue strong.

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