The Wesleyan Methodist Church in Australia: charity review

This is a charity review of The Wesleyan Methodist Church in Australia (WMC), an entity that seeks donations online, and, in the name Wesleyan World Missions (WWM), is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • There is no invitation on the website to give feedback or make a complaint.
  • Their own accountability is not mentioned on the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. For the third year in a row, they…did not respond.

Is WWM registered?

  • No. WWM is one of the four ‘Departments’ (see under ‘Ministries’ here) of WMC.
  • WMC is registered as a charity.
    • They appear to be trading under the name Wesleyan World Missions (for instance, Facebook, Missions Interlink), but they still don’t have WWM registered as a business name.
  • WMC is an unincorporated body.
  • WMC appears to control at least three other organisations:

  • WMC operates, per the ACNC Register in all states except Tasmania.
  • And has an online invitation to give. But it still not licensed to fundraise anywhere. It may argue that it is exempt in Queensland because it is a ‘religious order’ (which, given that they are a representative and administrative body, is questionable), and in Victoria because they can marry people (which is questionable for the same reason). But the other states?

What do WMC do?

  • See ‘About’ and ‘Missions’ in the main menu.
  • WMC operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, only in Solomon Islands. Why is Papua New Guinea still not included?

Do they share the Gospel[1]?

  • No

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • Because WMC is a ‘Small’ charity, it is exempt from lodging a Financial Report. Even if it were the next size up, ‘Medium’, which it would be if it consolidated its subsidiaries, it would still be exempt. This is because it is a ‘Basic Religious Charity’.
    • This status also makes it exempt from completing the ‘Financial Information’ section in the AIS 2017.
  • It could have supplied both the Report and the AIS information voluntarily but chose not to.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Stripe and PayPal are used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This is not disclosed.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (two days before the deadline, seven months after their year-end).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: Not quite: they do intend to fundraise, and there are no outcomes reported.
  • Financial Report 2017:
    • As a ‘Small’ charity, WMC does not have to submit a Financial Report.
      • Even if it had consolidated its subsidiaries (see above), because size is based on the revenue of the ‘registered entity’, its size would not have changed[2].
    • The ACNC says that ‘providing an AFR is optional but encouraged’. This encouragement was not enough for WMC.
    • However, WMC’s membership of Missions Interlink requires them to “have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.”  So just ask.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • There should have been an audit, but if there was one it hasn’t been made public.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • No
    • ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ is blank.
    • Papua New Guinea is missing from the list of countries.
    • ‘Phone’, ‘Email’, and ‘Website’ are still blank (but are not compulsory).

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The ‘National Leadership’ are these four people.
  • Which, with the addition of Jeffrey Adams, is the list on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Jeffrey Adams
    • Peter Dobson
    • Rosemary Richardson
    • Rex Rigby
    • Douglas Ring
    • This list has not changed for the last three years.
    • There are 20 directorships on the ACNC Register in the name ‘Jeffrey Adams’, 14 for ‘Rex Rigby’, 11 for ‘Rosemary Richardson’, 12 for ‘Douglas Ring’, and nine for ‘Peter Dobson’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course no for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which a WMC person is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful or so, it would be legitimate for you to question whether their ability to discharge their fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.

To whom is WMC accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • Although not mentioned on the WMC website, WWM, although not a separate business, is a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14. 
  2. Section 205-25, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012.

 

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