Letter from Conference Minister

May 2021

Conference Minister, Rev. Molly Carlson brings this week’s thoughts on Money

In 2020, the Illinois Conference applied and was granted a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Byline Bank. This money helped us through a rocky financial and operation year! In early 2021, the process was completed to forgive the loan and turn it into a grant – Hallelujah!

As you know, our financial team has been working hard to address the entirety of our financial picture. This included applying for the 2021 cycle of PPP loans made available again from the SBA. We ran into a couple of snags in our application and were working directly with staff from Byline Bank to iron them out. We finally got some critical information from our banker the day before we were notified that all of the SBA funds were gone. No more PPP loans would be funded. We will not receive PPP funds this year.

We are still reeling from this news as we were hoping that this money would ease some of our financial strain as we work through our financial issues and solidify strong policies and procedures that will protect the Conference from ending up in the same place again. However, we know that one never counts on grant money until it is in hand. This is not money that we were ever promised.

This news draws us back to our roots. The overwhelming majority of the money that is used to provide the services and support offered by our staff and ministry teams comes from OCWM – Our Church’s Wider Mission. Like your local church, our funding comes from our members. The Illinois Conference is made up of all of the members of all of the churches, all of the clergy, and all of the covenant partners that are affiliated with the United Church of Christ and located in the north half of Illinois. The work of the Conference is to help local churches be stronger together.

The Conference depends on your church’s donation to OCWM – especially with this new news. We also welcome individual donations through our Mission Friends offering. Every gift we receive is treasured and put to good use in helping us be Stronger Together.

Money Matters: Weekly insights into generosity, Conference finances, and being stronger together.