Extent of use of church funds
1. We must start with the trust deed and what it says about the use of church funds. The trust deed should make some reference to the deacons or such other persons as nominated by the church being responsible for receiving the voluntary subscriptions and other sums paid by the church, congregation and others and should go on to specify the use of such funds which will be for the repair of the chapel and other buildings, the support of the public worship of God therein, for the payment of the pastor or minister or for defraying other expenses and charges arising.
2. In the Charity Commission Guide “The Essential Trustee” Part D gives a general rule for trustees to “use charitable funds and assets reasonably, and only in furtherance of the charity’s objects.” The pastor, the deacons and others charged with responsibility for the church funds will be the trustees of such funds.
3. Church funds should be used to pay the pastor and visiting ministers proper remuneration for their labours both in the pulpit and time in preparation and travel as well as proper reimbursement of their travel and other expenses (Luke 10:7). The chapel building and other property owned should be insured (see section 7) and maintained in good condition.
4. Not all chapels will have an attached graveyard but where there is, some trust deeds will specifically refer to the land as a place of interment and it will follow that general income of the church can be used for the maintenance of the burial ground.
5. Where the chapel trustees own one or more chapel houses, the income from letting such houses will be available for use both for maintaining those houses and for the maintenance of the chapel and services therein. The chapel houses will generally be assets of the chapel trust and should be managed for the charitable purposes of the chapel. If there is a separate trust deed relating to the chapel house heed must be taken to its provisions.
6. Retained chapel houses are to be used in the best interests of the chapel trust and therefore church funds can be used for the maintenance and improvement of such houses.
7. Church funds should not be used for purposes not covered by the trust deed. One example is the relief of poverty. The Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthian church for specific collections for the poor is in I Corinthians 16:1-3. We also have in The Acts 4:35 gifts specifically for the needs of the people. Some chapels have had and may still have “Poor Funds” to help the poorer brethren.
8. Churches may decide to have special collections for their poor funds, other charities and specific needs and sums so collected should be used for the stated purpose as may be announced.