2016 Statistical Reports

MEMORANDUM


December 30, 2016


Dear Colleagues in Ministry,
As United Methodists, one of our annual responsibilities required by the Book of Discipline is the preparation of The Local Church Report to the Annual Conference. This information is used for planning purposes as well as financial purposes, both at the denominational and the conference level.


As in previous years, we will be using the GCFA website to gather the required information. The site, located at http://ezra.gcfa.org, will open January 1 for you to enter your church’s data. Please note, the pastor of each church is ultimately responsible for the completion of this process. If you do not have access to the website, you may complete your church’s information by paper and submit it to the Finance office to be entered. Please contact the finance office for a report form with your church’s 2016 information to use for manual submission.


Please read the following information prior to preparing your forms:

  • Log In - Each church within the Susquehanna Conference has a unique EZRA account. You will need to Log In using the same User and Password that was used last year. If you do not recall your log-in information or if someone else input the information in a previous year, the following information may be helpful:
    • The username for each church is usually formatted as 321 followed by your 5 digit local church number (if your church number is only 4 digits, precede it by a '0').
    • The password may have been set to susumc. Try this to see if it was changed after it was established.
    • If you still cannot log into the system, please contact Nate Smith at 800-874-8474 for further assistance.
       
  • A form is required for every church that was in operation at any time during 2016. If a church has closed or merged during 2016, the ending membership should be zero. This will enable that church to be closed in the EZRA system for the next year. Please access Table 1 for a closed church and enter the membership transfer information in the top section.
     
  • Once you are logged into the EZRA system, use Print Blank Forms to print out a copy of the prior year’s report which can then be used as a worksheet for your 2016 data. A printable version of all line directions can be found on the under Reports in the top grey banner (report is called Printable Line Directions). During
     
  • your actual data entry process, this information can be found as well for each individual line by clicking on the “?” to the right of each line.
     
  • When you are ready to enter your data into the system, access the entry screen by clicking on Enter Stats. Please enter data rounded to the nearest whole number only. The system does not recognize cents. When you are done entering the information for a table, click on the “Save” button. Once you save, the system may generate a warning or request an explanation for the information you entered. If you receive any such warning or requests for explanation, please take the time to enter and review this information for accuracy before your final report submission. You can save your information at any time and come back later to finish.
  • The report data is organized in the following manner:
    • Table 1 – Membership & Participation – used to collect data on membership and attendance
    • Table 2 – Church Assets and Expenses
      • Please remember to break down your salary information in lines 55 correctly. This information is now required each year for the Worker's Compensation Trust Audit. Specifically lines 50, 53, 54 and 55 are broken down further to provide this additional information.
      • Lines 35 - 42 on Table 2 are not included on your report. This information will be provided directly by the Finance office for each church based on the remittance data for the year.
      • Lines 48 through 57 will be used to calculate your 2018 Shares of Ministry. Please see the section below regarding Church daycares and preschools for special exemption information.
         
    • Table 3 – Church Income - remains the same as last year
       
  • Once you are finished entering all of your data, and you have checked it carefully, go to the “Main Menu” and click on “Submit Stats Process”. Once you have activated the Submit tab, you can no longer make any changes on the report. If you need to make changes to your form after submission, please send all corrections in writing (mail or email to Andra Haverstock (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)) so we may have backup for any changes. Your report will be changed accordingly.
     
  • Church daycares & preschools - In 1999 the Annual Conference amended the 1996 action regarding exemptions as follows: “Expenses associated with church provided pre-school and daycare programs, elder-care programs and college campus ministries which are under the direct, complete and active control of the local church shall be included in statistical information, but they may be exempt from the formula calculations upon completion of a form to be provided by the Conference Finance Office.” Those churches operating qualifying programs can access the “Exemption Form” on the conference website, www.susumc.org.
     
  • Please remember that the statistical forms have been prepared by the denomination, not by the Conference office. We know that some of you do not appreciate being asked to provide the Racial/Ethnic Identification or the Gender Identification but we would ask your cooperation in this matter. This information is used to plan for denomination materials and future ministry.

All reports must be completed, either via the Internet or manually, by the deadline of January 31, 2017. If you are not able to meet this deadline, please contact the Finance office as soon as possible. By direction of the Conference Cabinet, failure to submit your report by the deadline could result in an additional increase to your church’s shares of ministry for the following year.


We would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping us with this very important task in the life and ministry of The United Methodist Church. The statistical reports serve as a tool to help us assess our strengths and weaknesses as we plan for future ministry and also provide information to the General Church and our insurance carriers more easily and more quickly than might otherwise be possible. Thank you in advance for submitting your information as accurately and timely as possible. If you experience online problems, please let us know immediately so we can contact GCFA for assistance.

Andra Haverstock
Treasurer/Comptroller
717-766-5275

Cover Letter  - PDF