COVID-19 pandemic strikes C.C.C.S. finances

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the finances of the country's biggest denomination with the church looking into halting some of its major projects for three years. 

In its virtual special meeting held earlier this month, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa [C.C.C.S.] assembly is taking careful measures to reduce its spending due to COVID-19. 

A report to the General Assembly for the 2020-2021 fiscal year from the C.C.C.S. treasurer, Reverend Rimoni Wright, recommended laying off some current staff to deal with the impact of the downturn.

Rev. Wright has also asked the church to prioritise the payment of a substantial loan to the Samoa National Provident Fund of $10 million, suggesting that it stop hiring new recruits. 

He also noted that the epidemic will impact the church’s donations [faigataulaga] by $20 million this Financial Year. 

“Due to these impacts we will continue to allocate funds for normal operations,” the treasurer wrote in his report to the special General Assembly. 

“There have been obstacles for the current Financial Year.  

“We must carefully dispense funds for expenses so we can continue to afford the managing of the church’s finances from day to day.” 

The C.C.C.S. General Assembly meeting this year was downscaled due to state of emergency [S.O.E.] restrictions and border closures. 

In his recommendations, Rev. Wright sought the assembly’s approval to cease hiring any new recruits and laying off some of the church’s current workers. 

Other recommendations include halting major works for two to three years.

The C.C.C.S. Treasurer added that renovation work for the church's John William Building is nearly complete, which will help reduce expenses for the 2020-2021 financial year.

According to Rev. Wright, the expected revenue for the financial year is $22 million with $20.6 million from church donation [faigataulaga] and $1.4 million from interest and other revenue. 

The report also noted estimated expenses of $22 million in staff wages of $10 million, $2.2 million for the N.P.F. loan and the rest for other works and normal operations. 

According to the Treasurer’s report there is $3.9 million in savings that the church can reach into for any unforeseen matters. 

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