In the world, though not of it, the Seventh-day Adventist Church faces the same economic conditions confronting any global enterprise.
Church treasurer Juan Prestol-Puesán told Annual Council delegates Monday, Oct. 10, that the continued strength of the U.S. dollar versus eight global currencies means the church’s “income, liquidity, and working capital levels will take time to return to the levels they were before they dropped in 2015.”
The currencies that have lost value against the U.S. dollar include the Canadian dollar, Brazilian real, Mexican peso, Euro, Australian dollar, South African rand, South Korean won, and the British pound sterling.
Reduced exchange rates mean that currencies brought into the U.S. yield fewer dollars, impacting the amount available for the church budget. Prestol-Puesán and world church president Ted N.C. Wilson outlined the financial challenges facing the world headquarters in a special meeting with employees in September 2016.
“The impact of these devaluations will remain with us as the value of these currencies will remain lower than they were in 2014 for the immediate future,” Prestol-Puesán told delegates. “We expect that the strong U.S. dollar will not last more than two to three more years,” he added. “If this expectation proves false, significant changes to the budget will need to be made.”
One immediate result is that the church’s Strategic Planning and Budgeting Committee has recommended a suspension of plans to add one percent per year to the working capital fund, keeping it at 45 percent of the budget until the year 2020. At that time, the moratorium would be reviewed by that year’s Annual Council.
“We are doing our best to manage within the resources that we have and without hitting the panic button,” Prestol-Puesán said. “Our budget for 2017 is balanced, but it needs the blessing of the Lord.”
He also challenged members of the church’s worldwide leadership to realize that it is the sacrifices of 19.5 million Seventh-day Adventists around the globe that fund the movement’s mission.
“When they return their tithes and give their offerings they are sharing a portion of their own lives,” he said. “Leaders, let us remember that when they give it is the end of their stewardship and the beginning of ours.”