1. The General Assembly support the proposals for a new remittance system and instruct the Board to take steps to implement these proposals from January 2010. The new system shall have the following elements:
1.1 Congregations with a settled ministry shall remit to central funds the full costs of that ministry as advised by the Church Offices (such costs to include contributions in respect of Pension and National Insurance costs). If a congregation fails to meet this requirement, the Presbytery of the bounds shall consider whether or not there are sufficient grounds for presenting a case to the Home Missions Board for the ongoing support of a full-time ministry in the congregation. The Home Missions Board shall consider the merits of any such application and if the application is approved, it shall take steps to raise such additional finance as is required to meet the shortfall in remittances.
1.2. All congregations shall pay an Administration Levy to cover central overhead costs and a Training Levy to cover the costs associated with training students for the Free Church ministry. These levies shall be applied on a sliding scale in accordance with congregational income and shall be set by the Board of Trustees Finance Sub-Committee. In the case of the Training Levy, this shall be set in consultation with the Board of Ministry.
1.3. Congregations with income remaining after remitting funds to cover ministry costs and the levies referred to in (2) above, and after an income retention allowance is applied, shall remit a percentage of such remaining income to central funds as a contribution towards the costs of financing the work of Standing Committees and Boards. The Board of Trustees Finance Sub-Committee shall set the level of income retention allowance and the remittance percentage to be applied to remaining congregational income. These shall be set in such a way that, in the first year of operation of the new remittance system, 70 per cent of the budgeted expenditure of the Home Missions Board and the International Missions Board as well as the total budgeted expenditure of other committees and boards will be met through required remittances. In the second year this will reduce to 60 per cent of budgeted expenditure and by the third year of operation, 50 per cent of the budgeted expenditure of the Home and International Missions Boards will be met from required remittances.
1.4. The Home Missions Board and the International Missions Board shall raise such additional funding as is necessary to meet budgeted expenditure through project led fundraising activities. In supporting these proposals, the General Assembly acknowledge that there are risks involved but they consider that the new system provides an opportunity to increase opportunities for local ministry, creates a mechanism to improve communication of, and support for, the work of the Church centrally, and provides a platform for enhanced efficiency at both congregational and central level.
2. The General Assembly instruct the Homes Missions Board, in consultation with the Finance Sub-Committee, to bring forward draft legislation to the 2009 General Assembly in relation to arrangements for centrally supported congregations. Such draft legislation shall stipulate the number of congregations that can reasonably be supported by the Church and the levels of support that can be provided, and shall, as far as possible, be consistent with current legislation governing Church Extension, Redevelopment and Special Arrangements charges.
3. The General Assembly instruct the Communications Committee in consultation with the Home Missions Board and the International Missions Board in relation to options for enhancing their communication and fundraising capabilities and to bring forward proposals to the 2009 General Assembly in relation to these matters. Where such proposals have budgetary implications, the Boards shall consult with the Finance Sub-Committee.
4. The General Assembly endorse the Board’s support for the home and international missions work of the Church, remind local congregations of their responsibilities to support this work and encourage congregations to make such support a matter of priority when considering the utilisation of congregational resources.
5. The General Assembly instruct the Finance Sub-Committee to work with congregational treasurers to develop a clear set of procedures for the practical implementation of the new remittance system.
6. The General Assembly instruct the Board to consult with the Personnel Committee with a view to bringing forward proposals to the 2009 General Assembly for a set of creative and sensitive options for dealing with the personnel impact of bringing unsustainable ministries to an end.