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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    Perspectives: Meet the Deacons

    Meet the Deacons: Rev. Susan Ranous

    September 9, 2019 / By Rev. Susan Ranous

    I am Rev. Susan Ranous, a Deacon in Full Connection, called to a ministry of word, service, compassion, and justice, with a specialized ministry of stewardship, church, finance, and clergy tax. My call to ministry utilizes my education and experience as a Certified Public Accountant.

    I have served various churches as treasurer, bookkeeper, finance chair, and stewardship coordinator over the years.

    As the current Chair of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A), I have been instrumental in that capacity in preparing various resources for the Conference website. These include handbooks on topics such as finance and minimum standards, payroll, clergy compensation, local church audits, Ministry Shares, and various resources. CF&A has also created and publishes annually a Narrative Budget, sharing the stories of what the Conference budget does, and the ministries that are supported.

    Annually, I currently perform approximately 25 internal church audits, and expect a few additional ones each year. I approach these audits as not only a way to meet the Discipline and Conference requirements, but also as a way to teach proper financial practices and standards, providing resources, documents, and information that will enable each church to be better stewards of their resources.

    I am excited to meet with pastors, finance teams, stewardship teams, church councils, and help facilitate conversations around a holistic view of stewardship and finances. I also enjoy preaching and teaching on stewardship, financial, and clergy tax issues.

    I specialize in clergy taxes and the intricacies involved in those taxes. The dual tax status of clergy is something most tax preparers are not familiar with. New clergy, existing clergy, and retiring and retired clergy all have different needs and situations that directly affect the preparation of an income tax return, and I am able to help with that.

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    With more than 125,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises of more than 800 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."