Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania
Orthodox Church in America
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Financial Cornerstone Practices

The chatter:

  • "We waste money in this parish."
  • "I sure hope we know what we're doing."
  • "Do we really need to spend on this?" 
  • "I gave $ toward X and they spent on something else?"

You've likely heard these objections -- and more --in your parish.

While there is no perfect antidote for all of these, a good stewardship effort needs to be built on a foundation of good financial practice.

Clear Financial Reporting

Most parish financial reports are either too simple, most likely, require an in-depth explanation. A reasonably intelligent reader should be able to understand the parish financial status at a high level without a detailed explanation.

If the parish has multiple "funds" a description and purpose for each fund with a balance sheet and annual income statement is needed for each. Most importantly a top level report is needed to tie everything together.

Targeted Donations Policy.

When a parish receives a donation for a specific purpose that comes with a responsibility to be obedient to those stipulations. Parish Councils should review all such donations and explicitly agree to the donor directions -- r not accept under those terms.

Donor Communication

A simple report showing how money is being used and that things are in good; clear order should happen more than once per year.

Internal Controls

Well defined implemented and communicated policies for counting money, signing checks making deposits and support and approvals of expenditures builds confidence.


Timely responsive audits of parish funds and compliance to policies is critical. A template for a simple audit can be found here.


For years we've joked that the "P" in Orthodoxy is for planning. Probably most churches in a variety of 'denominations' are similarly challenged. A key job of a parish's finance team (albeit all to often one person) is to look down the road at future needs. What would we do if...?

When will we need a new X?  A 3-5 year vision budget is an important tool as well as a  Replacement Reserve Analysis