Our Healthy Church team decided with the rising number of COVID-19 cases locally and nationally that our Christmas Eve service will be a pre-recorded service. We hope you and your family can enjoy the service together in the comfort of your home. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. Jesus is here! Merry Christmas!
Article from Virginia United Methodist Foundation
The CARES Act passed in late March 2020. This was the federal government’s initial relief package which included $2.3 trillion worth of provisions to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It was intended to help 90% of the U.S. population.
Breakdown of the some of the CARES Act provisions:
- The CARES Act suspends the required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020. This includes anyone who turned 70 1/2 in 2019 who were supposed to take their first RMD by April 1, 2020. This change applies to both the owners of the retirement account and beneficiaries who inherited the account taking a Stretch distribution.
- If anyone has already taken their RMD, there’s a 60-day rollover rule allowing them to reinvest it in the account.
- The Act also suspended payments and interest on federal student loans until January 2021.
- The CARES Act allows individuals to pull up to $100,000 from their vested retirement accounts as either a penalty-free disbursement or a loan to pay for expenses and disrupted income related to the pandemic. The distribution can be taken over a three-year period. You have to pay taxes on it or you have to pay it back, but you’re given three years to pay it back.
Charitable Changes from the CARES Act:
- The new legislation allows up to $300 given to a qualified charity to be claimed as an above-the-line deduction. This is a permanent change that’s available to taxpayers who don’t itemize their deductions.
- The CARES Act also effectively suspends the limit on individual taxpayers’ deductions from cash contributions to public charities for 2020. Prior to the Act, individuals could only deduct up to 60% of their annual gross income (AGI). That limit has been raised to 100%. The deduction is only for donations to qualified charities.
To take advantage of the CARES Act changes, the charitable donations have to be in cash, not in a donor advised fund or in stock. Individuals whose cost basis on marketable securities is less than current market value may prefer to sell themselves and capture the loss, donating the net proceeds in cash.
The CARES Act may have subsequent changes, as legislative action on COVID-19 relief is reconsidered. The staff at the Virginia United Methodist Foundation are not tax advisors, but we hope this information will help you as you think about your 2020 tax situation. Our churches need your help this year, and we hope you will consider carefully what you can give and have given to your church.
Authors: Tommy Herndon, Bo Bowden
Thought we’d share this poem, seen on Facebook, to encourage, uplift, and inspire you this Easter. Enjoy!
How the Virus Stole Easter
By Kristi Bothur
With a nod to Dr. Seuss 😊
Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.
People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.
As winter gave way to the promise of spring,
The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.
People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.
April approached and churches were closed.
“There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.
“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can’t go about.”
Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest.
The world was focused on masks and on tests.
“Easter can’t happen this year,” it proclaimed.
“Online and at home, it just won’t be the same.”
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went.
The virus pressed on; it just would not relent.
The world woke Sunday and nothing had changed.
The virus still menaced, the people, estranged.
“Pooh pooh to the saints,” the world was grumbling.
“They’re finding out now that no Easter is coming.
“They’re just waking up! We know just what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
And then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo.
“That noise,” said the world, “will be something to hear.”
So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear.
And it did hear a sound coming through all the skies.
It started down low, then it started to rise.
But the sound wasn’t depressed.
Why, this sound was triumphant!
It couldn’t be so!
But it grew with abundance!
The world stared around, popping its eyes.
Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise!
Every saint in every nation, the tall and the small,
Was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all!
It hadn’t stopped Easter from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine
Stood puzzling and puzzling.
“Just how can it be?”
“It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies,
It came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money.”
Then the world thought of something it hadn’t before.
“Maybe Easter,” it thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
And what happened then?
Well….the story’s not done.
What will YOU do?
Will you share with that one
Or two or more people needing hope in this night?
Will you share the source of your life in this fight?
The churches are empty – but so is the tomb,
And Jesus is victor over death, doom, and gloom.
So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer,
As the virus still rages all around, everywhere.
May the world see hope when it looks at God’s people.
May the world see the church is not a building or steeple.
May the world find Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection,
May the world find Joy in a time of dejection.
May 2020 be known as the year of survival,
But not only that –
Let it start a revival.