From Gary Friesen/C&MA General Counsel:
Clergy Housing Allowance
Attached is the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, upholding the clergy housing allowance. This ends the latest—and certainly not the last—attempt to overturn this tax benefit. Since this is a frequent question from our licensed workers, you may want to consider distributing this information in some way.
Older (but still relevant) stories from The Alliance:
From Mike Sohm, President of CAMA Services:
More than 3 million people have fled Venezuela since 2014—about 10 percent of the country’s population. Thousands continue to flee every day. Why? In a word, desperation. Inflation is out of control, families are going hungry, and medicine is hard to find. In response to this crisis, Colombia has opened its borders and now hosts more than 2 million Venezuelans. That’s where we first heard Neidis’s story.
A Desperate Job Search
Neidis arrived in Armenia, Colombia, with her husband, 16-year-old daughter, and 4-year-old son in December 2017. They had just $16 in their pockets. The first week the family settled into their new city, Neidis sent out dozens of résumés. She hoped her former job as an agricultural engineer would help her find a new job. But after continuing to hear she was overqualified, Neidis decided to remove her education and 14 years of experience from her résumé.
Neidis was desperate. Her husband suffers from chronic pain in his hands and can’t work. Unable to give up, she finally managed to land jobs as a store clerk and domestic worker. One day while she was paying her rent, Neidis was invited to visit the Alliance El Encuentro de Vida church. Neidis, who had come to know Jesus when she was a child, decided to go. At church she was welcomed, loved, and invited to attend an event for Venezuelans sponsored by another Alliance church in her city.
Relief At Last
Upon arriving, Neidis, her family and friends, and nearly 400 other Venezuelans were surprised to see all that was available to them: medical, dental, and chiropractic care; counseling, eye exams, legal advice; and even haircuts. More than 150 qualified volunteers from various churches across the city joined together to provide these professional services. Neidis was able to have her vision checked and received a free pair of glasses. There were also programs available for children and teens, and families received clothing, medicine, and dinner.
Can you imagine what a relief this was for a woman carrying the full weight of her family’s needs?
The Colombian Alliance wants to continue supporting refugees like Neidis. Will you consider joining them?
Your gifts will help support hundreds of displaced Venezuelans living in the city of Armenia. Many families are living together in a cluster of apartment buildings, just getting by day-to-day. You can help sponsor more events like the one Neidis and her family attended as well as provide food, shelter, and job training.
Some predict nearly 4 million Venezuelans will reside in Colombia by 2021. Through your gifts, we can partner with the local church to give hope and practical help to Venezuelan families.
EquippingU LIVE: Pre-Council and Podcast
Previous sessions: November and March webinars available to view.
November’s theme was “Outward Focused Church”, broadcasted from Crown College.
March’s theme was “Dealing with Sexual Sin and Pornography”. Nick Stumbo from Pure Desire is presenting. Nick shared his journey from addiction to forgiveness and healing and provide practical steps and resources to help our churches become places of healing.
EquippingU Podcast: Season 1 is ready! Alan Rathbun and Terry Smith dialogue with leaders on topics ranging from worship, soul care, and prayer, to church multiplication and revitalization, and racial reconciliation. These are more than good conversations—each have application points to help pastors grow as leaders and establish a healthy growing church.
EquippingU Pre-Council: EquippingU will have three morning tracks: “Developing Multi-Cultural Churches,” led by Bryan Loritts; “Leading Revitalization in the Local Church,” led by Dr. Thom Rainer; and “Establishing a Church Multiplication DNA,” led by Matt Hannan. There will also be a catered lunch and afternoon session on “Racial Reconciliation,” led by Bryan Loritts.
Alliance Life Magazine Receives 10 Awards for its Journalism
At its annual convention April 4–6, 2018, in Orlando, Florida, the Evangelical Press Association presented Alliance Life, the official magazine of The Alliance, with the following awards:
Award of Excellence (first place), Denominational Magazine category
Second Place, Candid Photo category for “Baptism in a Bucketloader” by Herbert Shao
Fourth Place, Evangelism Article category for “Everyday Evangelism” by Martha Renaud
In addition, at its annual convention April 18-20 in Chicago, Illinois, the Associated Church Press presented Alliance Life with the following awards:
Award of Merit (second place), Denominational Magazine category
Award of Excellence (first place), Magazine/Journal Design, Spread, or Story category for “My Husband Shot John Lennon” by Gloria Chapman; design by Kenny Crane
Award of Merit (second place), Magazine/Journal Design Entire Issue category for November/December 2017 issue, design by Kenny Crane/Stephanie Reindel
Award of Merit (second place), Illustration with Article or Cutline category for “My Husband Shot John Lennon”; illustration by Kenny Crane
Award of Merit (second place), Feature Article category for “Freely Forgiven” by Emmy Houk
Award of Merit (second place), Convention or Meeting Coverage category for the “Council 2017 Special Issue”; photography by Stephanie Reindel
Honorable Mention (third place), Biblical Interpretation category for “True Confession” by Russell Huizing
Alliance Life currently reaches 50,000 households, encouraging its readers to celebrate the joyous life that can be found in Jesus Christ and reporting the forward momentum of His Church through the worldwide ministries of The Alliance.
Free ChurchEXCEL subscription to Alliance Northwest churches
From Ken Baldes/Vice President for Operations/Treasurer
As a former church treasurer and leader in my local Alliance church, I know the various challenges church leaders face serving their local church, including finances and administration.
The Alliance has been a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) since 1988, and we continue to enjoy a growing relationship with this organization. I am excited to tell you that ECFA is now providing a FREE ChurchEXCEL subscription to Alliance church leaders to help equip you in your church’s financial administration. This resource offers eBooks, webinars-on-demand, electronic tax guides, and so much more.
New International Ministry Opportunities for 2019 Deployment
IM would like to announce that new postings of international ministry opportunities for 2019 deployment will be added to its website during January. The top twenty opportunities will be viewable from January 1, with others being added during the course of the month.
The full total of more than 60 new opportunities for service as Alliance international workers will be posted for viewing and application by January 31.
Save with Alliance Purchasing Program
The National Office has negotiated special group pricing with several companies that may benefit your church—including Dell, Microsoft, Staples, T-Mobile, Xerox, and Stewardship Payroll Service. Two new partnerships with Arria Live Media and Sennheiser Electronic GmBH & Co. (Sennheiser) provide churches with low-cost, high-quality products for their audio needs.
For more information on these special rates, contact Kris Rickert.