November 5, 2015

Weak Mexican Peso Costs Church Division More Than $1 Million

, Inter-American Division

Mexico’s fluctuating peso cost the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Inter-American Division more than US$1 million in revenue in its 2015 operating budget, division treasurer Filiberto Verduzco said as he highlighted the financial challenges that the division faces because of weak regional currencies.

Verduzco said 30 percent of the operating budget comes from churches across the five unions in Mexico. The division’s budget is in U.S. dollars.

In addition to the weaker peso, the division has been hit by certain laws and regulations that have prevented funds from being transferred out of the country for nearly a year.

Filiberto Verduzco, treasurer of the Inter-American Division, speaking at year-end meetings. (Libna Stevens / IAD)

“This hurts. It hurts us,” Verduzco said during his report to the division’s executive body during year-end meetings in Miami, Florida.

Revenue also has been reduced from Venezuela and Colombia, whose currencies have also weakened. One U.S. dollar now trades for 3,000 Colombia pesos compared to 1,800 pesos a couple months ago, Verduzco said.

“This is also impacting the operation of the church,” he said.

Verduzco’s report echoed concerns voiced by Adventist world church treasurer Juan R. Prestol-Puesán during the Annual Council business meetings in mid-October. Prestol-Puesán cautioned that an economic storm fueled by restive global markets might cost the church millions of dollars.

Verduzco told division leaders that fear should not be factored into the church’s plans.

“We must move forward,” he said. “We must fulfill the mission and do so responsibly without putting [church] organizations at risk and adjust accordingly to face the financial challenges that come our way.”

Appropriations to church regions will not be reduced, but the division’s travel budget has been cut by 25 percent. As of September 2015, the working capital is at 200 percent and liquidity is at 233 percent.

Verduzco laid out plans to move forward with the operation of the 24-union church territory, saying that technology would strengthen the financial system from the local church level to the local field and up.

“Technology should encompass every financial move that we undertake,” he said.

Professional training in finance accounting will continue to be a priority in the use of SunPlus Adventist accounting software, he said. Transparency in financial audits of local churches and organizations will be a major push.

Financial independence will be fostered among the unions. The concept of self- sufficiency is important because “resource appropriations are provided to facilitate advancement in mission rather than to foster a relationship of dependence,” Verduzco said.