Spring 2020

One of my favorite TV shows—really the only one I watch—is New Amsterdam. And Max, the medical director, is my favorite character. To quote him: “How can I help?” 

The demands of your calling, your family, and your personal needs have shifted dramatically in the last few weeks. Virtual church on Easter Sunday! Homeschooling your kids. College kids returning home. Everyone is home! Where is space to focus, to write, to pray? You are not alone —no kidding—but you may feel alone.

As you navigate these challenges in a surreal environment, please know that we care about you and are available to support you in a variety of ways. While you are focused on the health of your church, do not neglect your own well-being. The Spring issue of Money Matters provides important information that you need to maintain financial well-being. Should you need more—a tax accountant, a financial advisor to triage your own situation for one or more sessions, or guidance around an impending financial crisis—please email or call me. Should you need any resource for your total well-being, please email or call! How can I help?

Diane Owen
Program Director
(507) 244-0311 (mobile)

Three things you need to know

Your taxes

2019 Federal tax returns may be filed on or before July 15, 2020. Both Minnesota and North Dakota have provided the same extension to July 15 for 2019 state taxes without any penalty or interest. South Dakota has no state income taxes.

2020 estimated federal taxes due April 15 can be pushed to July 15. CAUTION: Continue to save for this payment or you will be dealing with multiple tax payments, final 2019 payments, and two quarters of 2020 tax payments. You must still pay 2020 estimated state taxes according to the quarterly schedule beginning April 15, 2020. 

Please read the information on the websites provided and/or contact your tax accountant.

Your economic impact payment checks

If your income is lower than $75,000, you will receive a check from the government for $1200. Even if your income is higher, you may receive a check for a lesser amount. If you have children under age 17, you will receive a check of $500 per child. In the coming weeks, the US Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail. Find more information on economic impact payments.

Your student loans

If you have a federal student loan, you may defer your payments through September 30, 2020. No interest will accrue during this period on the following types of federal student loans:

  • Defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans
  • Defaulted and non-defaulted FFEL Program Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans

Please note that some FFEL Program loans are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are owned by the institution you attended. These loans are not eligible for this benefit at this time.

Additionally, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry is aiding student loan borrowers whose income has been impacted as a result of the pandemic. Borrowers currently in repayment may request a payment suspension for three months. Interest will accrue during the payment suspension once the request has been verified by GBHEM.

The Area Student Debt Reduction Grant program is on a “pause” while we evaluate the financial needs of our pastoral leaders during COVID-19. We have made some revisions to this granting program to include additional resourcing and opportunity for more clergy to participate. While it is our intent to distribute these funds in 2020, the funds may be redirected for a different purpose during this season. We will keep you informed. 

Three Steps to Financially Survive the Pandemic

Pastors and church leaders don’t always know how to help those who have lost income.

Here are three practical steps and a free worksheet you can share with your community. These steps will help people find hope and identify actions they can take to make it through a loss of income. They may help you and your family too! You may share or recreate this post in whatever way works for your context.  Read blog post

Nonprofit Church Leadership certificate program: Extended Deadline and Cost Reduction

The deadline for the Nonprofit Church Leadership certificate program—the innovative online graduate level opportunity for our Dakotas-Minnesota Area pastors—has been extended to May 15, 2020. Given the difficult economic conditions we are facing, we have reduced the tuition contribution for pastors from $500 to $250 and for churches, from $1500 to $750. If the required contribution creates any hesitation with applying, please proceed with your application and reach out to Diane Owen with your concerns at or 507-244-0311. Your leadership development is too important to allow a financial barrier to get in the way.  Learn more about these changes / Access program details and application


Dakotas-Minnesota Area of the United Methodist Church
Diane Owen, Lilly Grant Program Director