by Goh Eck Kheng
On 20 May 2020, CCMC Local Church Executive Committee convened a meeting via video conferencing to review the church budget for 2020-2021 in view of the financial impact to church income from the Covid-19 pandemic and circuit breaker measures.
As the budgets submitted by church ministries were prepared before the circuit breaker was implemented, the Finance Committee felt that the submissions do not take into account the reality that the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to remain for some time.
Although the circuit breaker ends on 1 June, Singapore will embark on a three-phased approach to resume activities safely. Resumption of religious gatherings falls under Phase 3 which could be in several months. Even then, the size of gatherings will be limited.
Mr Lee Khuay Chye, Chairperson of the Finance Committee highlighted that the usual weekly collections have fallen by about 45 percent since 7 February when Singapore raised its DORSCON level to Orange. This is despite the availability of giving via mobile and internet banking.
The Finance Committee has projected that church collections will fall by 25 percent for the financial year of 2020-2021. Based on this and the budgets submitted by the church ministries, the overall projected budget deficit is an unprecedented $600,000 for the year.
Against this backdrop, Mr Lee urged the ministry chairpersons to make substantial reductions to their budgets. The LCEC agreed unanimously to aim to reduce the projected deficit to $300,000 as recommended by the Finance Committee. Funds allocated to fellowship outings and gatherings such as camps, workshops, outings, retreats, overseas trips and Bible teaching sessions, which are no longer possible, are examples of where expenditure may be saved. The shortfall will be covered by drawing on reserves which were prudently built up over the years.