April 28, 2020
You may have heard or seen news reporting that Governor Reynolds has lifted the restrictions on in-person church gatherings as of May 1. We are all eager to be able to get back to worshipping in our church building, however, we want to do that in a safe and responsible way.
Although the most recent proclamation by Governor Reynolds does not prohibit spiritual and religious gatherings, the proclamation also;
- Strongly encourages vulnerable Iowans, including those older than 65, to continue to limit activities outside of their homes and their participation in gatherings of any size and any purpose,
- Keeps in place previous restrictions and closings of all gatherings of more than 10 people in 22 counties, including Polk County until May 15,
- Continues the restrictions statewide on gatherings in such places as bars, theaters, social and fraternal clubs, senior citizen centers and adult daycare facilities, as well as many other gathering places,
- Has not changed the previous decision to close all schools throughout the state for the remainder of the year.
In addition, Iowa's peak number of Covid-19 cases is not expected until May 7 and three out of the six regions in the state, including Polk County, are currently listed as 9 out of 10 on the Regional Medical Coordination Centers Assessment Map.
After consultation with Kaj Sinclair, Steering Committee Chair, we have made the decision to continue to limit meetings, classes and groups in the building and to not have on-site worship until at least June 1st. Our decision is line with Bishop Laurie Haller’s recommendations sent out on April 27th. I would strongly suggest reading Bishop Haller’s article and rationale.
Aldersgate staff and church leadership are also developing protocol for safe distancing, enhanced cleaning and suggested practices for when we do begin on-site worship again, as well as a plan for continuing online worship even after we are back worshipping in-person. We will continue to monitor the situation and will make determinations as to what we think is in the best interest and safety for our members.
I hope to see you very soon.
Join us for an ONLINE VBS June 14-18! We want to care for and protect our volunteers and kids by hosting VBS in a free, online format this year. We'll do all we can to help each other find joy and strength in this special week! Here's how to join in:
1. Register at https://2020.cokesburyvbs.com/AldersgateWestDesMoines. Registering helps us ensure we have enough supplies for everyone. Invite a friend to join us for VBS, too!
2. Pick up your VBS supplies from Aldersgate or West Des Moines United Methodist Church on Friday, June 12.
3. Starting on June 14, head to our web pages for videos that will guide you through each day's Bible story and VBS activities.
Church leadership continues to monitor and stay up to date with the provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and how they may impact churches and individuals. The summary below identifies possible tax benefits for charitable giving. As always, it is recommend that you contact your personal tax advisor for information and guidance regarding your specific tax situation.
PROVISIONS TO SUPPORT CHARITIES
The CARES Act encourages individuals, families, and corporations to continue to contribute to
churches and other charitable organizations.
Allowance of Partial Above-the-Line Deduction for Charitable Contributions
Section 2204 of the Act permits taxpayers to deduct up to $300 of cash contributions, whether they itemize their deductions or not. It creates a new “above-the-line” deduction for all taxpayers who contribute to religious, charitable and educational organizations (i.e., for taxpayers who take the standard deduction). This deduction will permit these taxpayers to deduct up to $300 of annual monetary contributions. This is applicable for tax years beginning after 2019, and does not sunset after 2020 like the increased limits described below.
Modification of Limitations on Charitable Contributions during 2020
Section 2205 of CARES increases the limitations on deductions for charitable contributions by
individuals who itemize, as well as corporations. Such cash contributions must be made during 2020. This provision does not extend the due date of the 2020 tax return.
- For individuals, the 50%-of-adjusted-gross-income limitation is suspended for 2020.
- For corporations, the 10% limitation is increased to 25% of taxable income. This provision also increases the limitation on deductions for contributions of food inventory from 15% to 25% during 2020