News from the Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk
The turning of the new year is the time for “out with the old, in with the new.” This year, it marks ten months since we have been dealing with the COVID-19 virus, something that is getting really old. Since the middle of this past March, we have been social distancing, wearing masks, and developing Zoom skills and afflictions (see “Zoom butt”). As the new year dawns, we are seeing the roll-out of several vaccines, but we are also seeing daily infection numbers similar to last July, including daily record numbers of infections within the past couple weeks.
We cannot let go of the same old things we have been doing over the past ten months. Not yet, at least.
Currently, the vaccines are being administered to front-line medical workers, residents of retirement facilities, and persons 65 and older, particularly those with underlying medical conditions. The roll-out has not been without issues; Lake County has had to close its vaccine distribution centers for a couple days due to unavailability of the vaccines. The conventional wisdom is that most of us will not be vaccinated until the second quarter of 2021, or later.
What this means is that we need to stay diligent with the protocols we have been following for mitigating the spread of the virus. Virus fatigue is something we all are facing, but it would be tragic to stop doing the necessary things we have been doing for months now and contribute to the spread of the virus that might cost people their lives before the vaccines can become fully available.
The Presbytery still has information on its web site about things to do in order to conduct worship safely, or to continue an online presence. Public singing continues to be one of the biggest challenges, as if infectious, this can spread droplets much further and faster. (The potential presence of the more infectious UK variant of the coronavirus brings this issue into sharper focus.) I felt a sense of loss in not singing many of my favorite carols in a public setting over the holidays as much as the next person. The list of congregations and their worship status is under re-construction after the majority of the page information was lost. Please provide your worship information by emailing Cheryl Carson with your current status.
2021 Per Capita
We have received several inquiries about per capita apportionment rates for 2021. This information was provided to the presbytery in the packet of reports for the September 2020 stated meeting. The specific information on per capita can be accessed here. The rate was kept the same for 2021 at $19.25 per active member (as of December 31, 2019). The breakdown is $8.98 GA, $1.50 Synod of South Atlantic, and $8.77 Presbytery.
The new year also means it is annual report season. Hopefully, pastors and Clerks of Session are filling out the annual statistical report for the General Assembly. That needs to be done by February 10. Look for an email this week from Christina Greenawalt about how to access the GA statistical report and the presbytery reports, which are Google documents. If you have any questions or issues, please contact Christina or me for assistance.
Among the presbytery reports is one about insurance coverage for the congregation. There is a Book of Order mandate about insurance in G-3.0112, “Each council shall obtain property and liability insurance coverage to protect its facilities, programs, staff, and elected and appointed officers.:
Over the past 18 months, at least three of our congregations have faced legal issues for liability claims. If you have the proper insurance coverage, your insurer will defend the congregation in any legal proceedings. You can consult a local attorney if you choose, but what needs to be done immediately is to contact your insurance agent and the company, inform them of the complaint, and ask how they will represent you in the matter.
The turning of a new year is a good time to review the adequacy of your congregation’s insurance coverage. It is also the time to update your corporate filing with the state of Florida (using the Sunbiz web site) as to your corporate officers for 2021, as well as to pay the annual registration fee (around $65). This must be done by early May to avoid a rather costly penalty and to protect your congregation’s corporate name..
If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact Christina or me at the Presbytery office. Many of our congregations use one of three insurers that specialize in church coverage and provide comprehensive policies that are underwritten in part by several denominations, including the Presbyterian Church. These insurers are GuideOne (the Presbytery’s insurer), The Insurance Board, and Church Mutual.
It will not be long until it is hurricane season again. This is a good time to review your storm and wind coverage, as well as your disaster plans before June 1 comes again.
Over the Christmas holiday, my name was spoofed in an attempted email scam that has been plaguing many presbytery leaders. The scam involves an email using a Gmail address purporting to be me. The email address uses a combination of my name and the presbytery. The first email reads, “Good morning. Do you have a moment I have a request I need you to handle discreetly. If so just reply my mail.” If responded to, the next email will ask you to buy six $200 gift cards for which I will reimburse the next day. While the emails are supposedly signed by me (usually Rev. Dr. Dan Williams, a signature I do not use), they are actually the scammer trying to gain access to your personal information, like bank accounts.
One presbytery leader reported that people were taken for over $3,000 in this scam in their presbytery. If you get one of these emails, just delete it. Neither I nor the presbytery solicit contributions in this manner. Think about it – why would I have you buy gift cards for me to be reimburse you the next day when I could just do it myself and be reimbursed? Please note the following:
I made a report the scam on this email scam with the FBI’s internet report website. I do not know what more I can do other than to get the word out that “Dr. Dan Williams firstname.lastname@example.org” is not me. Click the delete button on anything like this.
Executive Presbyter / Stated Clerk
Rev. Dr. Dan Williams