“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,

and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you:

but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV)

The word the Athenians used for their Assembly was Ekklesia, the same word used in the New Testament for Church
(and it is the greatest philological irony in all of Western history that this word,
which connoted equal participation in all deliberation by all members,
came to designate a kind of self-perpetuating, self-protective Spartan gerousia -
which would have seemed patent nonsense to Greek-speaking Christians of New Testament times,
who believed themselves to be equal members of their Assembly.)

- Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Interesting Article

In their summer 2009 newsletter, Church Mutual Insurance Company printed an article titled, "A financial pandemic is sweeping the country." The article lists warning signs churches could look for that might indicate financial impropriety. Two of these signs deserve consideration.

Excuses to avoid financial audit - If memory serves, the past two general assemblies contained some discussion regarding an audit. The assembly chair delayed discussion each time moving it to the "next meeting" effectively avoiding the topic. According to the UPR's, each year the community is to nominate, from the floor of the general assembly, members of the community to serve on the audit committee. When was this last done and what were the results of their audit? In addition, paperwork required for parish council election ratification includes a list of the members of the audit committee. If there have been no nominations, how could paperwork have been honestly submitted and elections ratified?

Failure to provide financial reports at meetings - While spreadsheets are regularly provided listing account balances we never seem to receive detailed expense reports (including invoices) of the restricted accounts or of the festival account. So much work has been done at Prophet Elias yet no detailed invoices have ever been presented to the community. Our festival expends over $500,000 yet we never see detailed invoices.

We are asked to be active in our community while at the same time receive only limited information. The time has come to see that an audit committee is appointed as required by the UPR. It is time to see detailed expense reports (including invoices) so we can be truly informed. We can no longer settle for the second class citizenship that has been lorded upon us.

1 comment:

Steve Gamvroulas said...

As a community if we do not demand accountability and completely open records then we are negligent.

As a former white collar crimes investigator I can't tell you the times I have seen organizations destroyed because of misguided faith in people considered to be trustworthy. We must all demand the right to scrutinize all financial activities of this community.