Federal CARES Act and the Local Church

By Jamion Wolford

UPDATE: April 6: Please refer to this document for the latest from the Small Business Administration re: Churches/Faith-Based organizations.


With the passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Federal government has opened trillions of dollars to support Americans, and religious organization are eligible to apply for some of this assistance. However, the agencies implementing and administering the aid are still developing the processes and procedures necessary to determine eligibility, enable distribution, and evaluate proper usage of the funds.

Due to these processes and procedures being under development, many questions are yet to be answered, such as how unemployment benefits will be administered in each state and what will be required to apply for paycheck protection loans.

At this time, I encourage churches to ensure their financial records for the last year are in order and readily accessible, continue to follow the information provided on the West Virginia Conference website, communicate with their local bank(s) to understand the role the bank may play in the process of applying for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and establish a team within the church to evaluation this information.

When evaluating whether to apply for a PPP loan, please consider the resources and skills necessary to properly request, expend, and document the flow of loan funds. Although these loan funds may be forgiven, entities must administer these funds in compliance with the Act to be eligible for loan forgiveness. If a church decides to apply for a PPP loan, the pastor needs to notify their District Superintendent in writing of the church’s application.

Below, you will find links to communications summarizing the CARES Act and explaining the process for applying for a loan through the PPP. We will continue to provide updated information as it is available.

Wespath CARES Act Summary

US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Loan Guide

SBA Paycheck Protection Program

For more information, you may also reach out to our Conference Treasurer, Jamion Wolford.