It’s easy to think of our Finance Council in the simple terms of reviewing and reporting on numbers - what comes in; what goes out. This is one function, but the traditional role of a Finance Council is to provide oversight to the processes, procedures, and controls around handling money and spending for the parish.
At CTK & St. Stephen our focus is more broadly one of stewardship and the careful application of a few guiding gospel principles. Are we judiciously using the funds so graciously donated to our parishes? Are we supporting the needs of our various ministries? Are we treating our dedicated staff fairly? Are we properly maintaining our physical plant to support the many activities of our parishes? Are we participating in the life of the universal church through our financial support and charities? Are we addressing the needs of the poor? Are we following best practices for the management of parish business?
Canon Law and the Diocese require each parish to have a Finance Council. Perhaps surprisingly this is the only committee each parish must have, and the Diocese requires this committee to formally review and approve the annual parish budget.
When St. Stephen was rolled under the leadership of our pastor, we combined Finance councils so that there is one group with financial oversight of both parishes. Now that a full merger of our parishes is on track, there is work to do in 2023 to fully combine finances and processes.
At CTK and St. Stephen, Fr. Paulson has opted for full transparency to financial data and decisions and has asked us to fill a larger role in the review of donations and spending. We assist our pastor in applying the gospel principle of stewardship of our funds. We’ll be adding a monthly report in the bulletin.
Our role starts with a review of the safe and secure handling of donations from the collection basket or online giving to the bank. We review parish financial statements each month and oversee financial processes. We periodically review payroll and benefits as well as the pension billing. With capital projects, we review the contract, the progress reports, and costs. If questions are raised by any of these reviews, we bring them to our pastor’s attention for clarification, understanding, and corrections as needed. We prepare the annual budget and an annual written financial report and presentation to the parish. Every three years, we participate in the diocesan mandated parish financial audit, which will occur for us later in 2023.
The financial accounting and bookkeeping function for CTK is performed by an outside firm, Armanino. While Finance Council members have insight to all financial data, our members are advisory only and financial transactions are left to the Pastor and authorized staff members.
The CTK and St Stephen Finance Council meets about ten times a year, however a monthly report is prepared by our Finance Council and reviewed with our pastor. Members serve on the Finance Council for three-year terms that can be renewed by the pastor. New members are interviewed by select Finance Council members and our pastor who then appoints new members.
Please include our CTK and St Stephen Finance Council in your prayers, that they continue their faithful stewardship. Our focus is on the faith-filled, judicious use of our generous donations, by careful stewardship, in service of the needs of our ministries, our staff, the care of our physical plant, the universal church, and the poor.
Thank you for your trust!
Member of the Finance Committee