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I need an accounting system that will work for a small congregation. I am looking for something understandable for a person with a Grade 12 education who can handle basic math, data entry and can learn to point and click to enter information and generate reports. Our accounts are very basic. Income lines include things like loose offering, individuals, groups, grants, rent and events. We need to track both undesignated and designated gifts. Expenses include all aspects of payroll and program expenses. Does the national church have an accounting system they would recommend
for small churches? Also, should congregations use cash or accrual basis of accounting?
I am “just wondering” about where is the right place during a Sunday service for the announcements.
 Answered by Karen Plater, and Jim Mac- Donald, Stewardship & Planned Giving
With all the different needs of various con- gregations, there are no PCC-preferred programs for accounting, but here are some ideas to help you get started.
About a quarter of all PCC churches use QuickBooks, available at a discount from TechSoup ( We have heard from treasurers that it is fairly easy to use.
Some congregations with more compli- cated needs, use Sage 50 Premium, which is slightly more complex. However, it is expensive, and more than small congrega- tions generally need. Some larger congre- gations use PowerChurch (powerchurch. com), which is a fine program, but possibly more than what’s needed for small congre- gations.
There is a low-cost proprietary software made for Canadian churches and non-prof- its: ACCOUNTS by Cooperstock Account- ing ( Coop- erstock is a Canadian company, and its website provides very useful content. They will answer questions that you send them by email. About 100 PCC churches use Cooperstock’s software. They offer a 60- day free trial. It is somewhat easier to learn than QuickBooks because it is designed
for non-profits in Canada. The overall con- cepts are similar, but Cooperstock adds automated fund accounting and reports in ACCOUNTS, which many churches need and is harder to do in QuickBooks.
For any bookkeeping program, users do have to learn a few concepts and the Cooperstock Accounting help page can get you started ( AccountsManual/index.html?accounting_ concepts.htm). It has a demos and sam- ples page with videos you can view.
As far as cash versus accrual account- ing is concerned, this was discussed dur- ing our recent series of Treasurers Webi- nars. You can find the discussion at the 13-minute mark in the Sharing God’s Gifts: Exploring Congregational Expenditures webinar at webinars/#treasurers. Cash-basis ac- counting is easier and acceptable for very small non-profits, and is used by many congregations, but it is usually not recom- mended, since formal audits require accru- al accounting. If the church is receiving any funds from government or foundations that require an external audit, they may need to use accrual accounting.
For more information contact Jim Mac- Donald at 1-800-619-7301 ext. 257 or
Answered by the Rev. Ian Ross-McDonald, Life and Mission Agency
There is no one right place during worship to give the announcements; context and custom and theological concerns govern the decision about where to make an- nouncements during worship services. In some congregations, the announcements are made before worship begins so they can help orient worshippers to things hap- pening in the service and will not interrupt the flow of worship. In other congregations, the announcements are made around the presentation of the offering. Giving the an- nouncements near the offering may be a means of connecting the church’s weekly life and mission with worship. In still other congregations, the announcements are made just before the benediction as part of the preparation to go and serve in the world God loves.
Just as important as where the an- nouncements belong, is where announce- ments do not belong. It is a good practice to resist using the prayers of the people
(prayers of intercession) as the place and time to insert announcements. A prayer that asks God to “help us to remember that the pancake supper is on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. and that tickets cost $10; please use the side entrance to the meeting hall when you come for supper” can be distracting, ineffective as an announcement and not the best use of time spent with God in prayer.
How the announcements are made is another matter that requires some thought. It’s a good practice to keep announcements short, clear and few in number. A long se- ries of announcements can be distracting and easy for the listener to forget. It may be more effective to give only two to four brief announcements and then explain where to find more information. And keeping writ- ten announcements concise and clear on an uncluttered page helps people read and remember important information. I heard someone say about the announcements in one church “tldr” (Too Long, Didn’t Read), which was a good reminder to keep writ- ten announcements brief, if they are to be effective.
 I’ve been wondering about how The Presbyterian Church in Canada speaks prophetically about things like what is happening to Ukraine.
Answered by the Rev. Ian Ross-McDonald, Life and Mission Agency
Chapter 8 of Living Faith affirms that “Christ, the Prince of Peace, calls his fol- lowers to seek peace in the world. We af- firm that God is at work when people are ashamed of the inhumanity of war and work for peace with justice.” There are many ways that the church speaks pro- phetically about war and acts of aggres- sion. Sermons and prayers are important ways the church speaks prophetically on contemporary issues locally.
As a church together, our voice is heard
in letters that moderators of the General Assembly write to urge the government of Canada to act. The PCC belongs to several ecumenical bodies, such as the Canadian Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches and KAIROS (a consor tium of Canadian denominations that respond to the call to “do justice, and to love kind- ness, and to walk humbly with your God” Micah 6:8), that make statements on in- ternational affairs.
The church also has many theological statements that affirm the PCC’s condem- nation of violence and injustice of any kind. To learn more, visit

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