ANNUAL REPORT 2015 - A HEART FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICE
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Figures 2015 7
In 2015 Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) experienced a lot of activity among its members worldwide. For over 100 years, BCC has had a fine tradition of personal commitment among its members. BCC experiences that there is still great excitement over being able to spend time and resources to support the church’s core activity, which is to facilitate fellowship around the Christian message.
This is especially manifest during BCC’s international conferences where hundreds of members volunteer to make sure that the arrangements shall have the content and the focus BCC bases its beliefs on. In the course of 2015 seven different conferences were conducted, with participants from many countries and continents. Children and youth have a central role in church life. BCC commits both time and money to look after their interests. In 2015 among other things an Easter Camp was arranged for youth, where over 1500 young people between the ages of 13 and 20 participated. A great number of volunteer hours were put in by youth and adults over 20 years of age during the camp, and this contributed to the 2015 Easter camp´s success.
In 2015 BCC produced a profit, mainly due to the great generosity of its members. BCC also receives grants from the Government, on a par with other religious communities. How BCC employs and manages this money, engages both the members and the community around BCC. The Board of BCC has a strong focus on proper and secure management of the funds that the association administers. BCC wishes to continue to support the work with children and youth, and to support missionary work, both in Norway and internationally.
Voluntary work is the cornerstone of the church’s activities, and BCC is thankful for the great generosity, unselfish effort and personal commitment of thousands of members worldwide!
Voluntary work is a core value of BCC and its members, and has been a key factor in BCC’s development.
BCC has no paid pastors or positions related to the welfare work itself in the church. There is a strong tradition that this is performed on a nonprofit basis. A large proportion of those who are members are youth between the ages of 18 and 25 years and in Norway BCC has nearly 1,700 young people in this age group. This age group is heavily involved as activity leaders and mentors up to several evenings a week. BCC views this commitment as being very valuable, and wants to contribute with both resources and a framework that functions. These efforts easily constitute up to half a million volunteer hours per year in activity and welfare work.
Participation in senior management conference 2016
“It is health-building, inclusive and crime preventative to participate in voluntary work” expressed Sturla Stålseth in his opening speech at the Senior Management Conference in January 2015. “We must create room for voluntariness,” he continued, “Because it is good for society and because it is good for the individual. Voluntariness is a cornerstone of democracy and the welfare of our society. “
The following year, in 2016, there was a Senior Management Conference theme #FreeVoluntariness (#FriFrivillighet), with the subtitle “Everyone wants a free voluntariness, but which roads lead usthere?“. BCC was represented at the conference by CEO Vegar Kronstad. The Senior Management Conference theme was very relevant to BCC, which is an organization with a long tradition of voluntary work and committed members. BCC currently has about 30-40 salaried employees in permanent positions, but most of BCC´s activity is carried out on a voluntary basis. This has been true from the beginning, and this is also church policy today. BCC is a charity, and one can voluntarily register or unregister, and one is free to choose the level of activity at which one wants to operate. There is considerable variation regarding this among the members.
One of the main topics at the Senior Management Conference was how free voluntariness should be. There was general agreement, also from politicians, that it should be free, and not a tool for either government or business. Voluntariness should both define and achieve its own goals. Prime Minister Erna Solberg said it in this way: «Just the freedom, that one has the backbone that lets you see new needs, participate in new ways, and organize new services, is important!“
Voluntariness has a long tradition in BCC
BCC has had a strong tradition of voluntariness from the start. In recent years, BCC has seen strong growth in voluntary work in the association. BCC´s founder, Johan Oscar Smith, was a strong advocate and a role model for voluntariness. The church was a matter of the heart for him and he wanted to surround himself with those who had the same heart for the cause. He clearly stated that if it were not so, he would rather wish they refrained from contributing. J. O. Smith and his brother Aksel started the magazine “Hidden Treasures” in 1912. Aksel Smith was a dentist with a good income and was able to finance much of the work. When he died quite young in 1919, Smith had to carry the burden himself, not just work with the magazine, but also all the costs of printing and shipping. He didn´t burden the church with any of this, but he had such a big heart for the cause that he took out a personal loan to finance the activity.
As the church in Horten grew and they needed their own place to have meetings and gatherings, he showed the same commitment. In 1921 he was first in the breach with a strong personal commitment to get their own assembly hall built. Now children and youth had become a significant part of church life, so several with warm hearts joined the cause. He writes: “Here in Horten, it seems as if both men and women have hearts that drive them. They aren’t driven by any particular outside pressure. And by the way, we are no admirers of that kind of pressure. ” Times were hard in those days, but people volunteered both financially and with labor. The church in Horten got its first modern hall a year after, with room for meetings and other activities.
BCC believes that having an active social care forms us as human beings. To give and share one’s time, care and funds is part of the members’ beliefs. This type of voluntary effort cannot be measured in material values, but it has an enormous value for society, and for the thousands of children and youth who are occupied and who experience a meaningful leisure time, thus preventing substance abuse, crime and other negative tendencies.
Voluntariness during our own events
BCC’s international conferences are a good example of the members’ voluntary efforts. With almost 50,000 participants a year, spread over up to 10 different conferences, it goes without saying that it takes enormous effort to get everything to work well.
During the summer months several thousand hours of voluntary effort are put in, for example in cleaning, parking, security, rigging, translation, lighting, sound, picture and television production. Just one of these areas, for example translation of the spiritual edification into over 20 languages, requires the involvement of between 40 to 50 people with good language skills every time. Voluntariness Norway expresses in its Voluntariness Political Platform 2014 – 2019: “In voluntariness people meet those who have the same interests, beliefs or who are passionate about the same thing. Participants get social skills, abilities, friends, networks and experience the feeling of succeeding.” We offer some of the most interesting voluntary tasks to the children and the youth. Every year BCC challenges several local branches of Activity Club to create content and entertainment for children and young people for the conferences at Brunstad. This applies particularly to the summer conferences, where BCC has many major events at a high level. These include everything from musicals, concerts, games for the children, shows, sports tournaments and other outings and competitions over several days. The final event alone in the youth competition Outdoor Challenge gathers several thousand spectators in the main hall at Brunstad to a tremendous show. The hall is transformed into a stage with scenery, props, dancers, music and effects that take months of effort by dozens of people to prepare.
Participate and Support the Community
BCC´s collection centers are often operated and maintained by members on a voluntary basis. Anyone who desires can contribute what fits for them, be it money or time. This creates a feeling of ownership and responsibility.
BCC’s policy is that voluntary efforts are in no way required by its members. Church life is, and should be voluntary. If there is a person who participates in a community where many would like to contribute, and that person doesn’t have the opportunity or an equally strong desire to contribute, it is difficult to avoid experiencing a certain amount social pressure. On the other hand, being able to contribute voluntarily in a practical way also provides an opportunity to contribute to the community for those who do not have such strong financial “muscles”.
Such mechanisms can also be found in society in general. If you have children in elementary school, you will be expected to contribute voluntarily in connection with the 17th of May celebrations. FAU or the school cannot demand this, but when almost all of the parents turn up, it is difficult for some not to feel some pressure to contribute.
BCC are very conscious of including those who are unable, or have limited opportunity to contribute to the community. This forms a part of BCC’s beliefs as the Apostle Paul says in one of his letters: “Bear each other’s burdens.”
At a Top Leadership Conference in January 2016, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said: “What is so impressive in our society is to see how many people contribute almost as many hours and years in their efforts without pay, outside of ordinary working life, as what they contribute in the workplace. I think that the strength of our society is this ability to be there for each other. “ BCC stands behind this message, and experiences that voluntary work creates good, concrete results, and provides members with both experiences of overcoming challenges and a sense of community. It constitutes a significant difference for those it involves, and motivates to further effort.
From the Volunteering Survey 2015 it can be seen that two out of three, i.e. 66 percent of the Norwegian population, perform some kind of voluntary work. This means that approximately 2.8 million people in Norway experience that they have participated in voluntary work. From the same survey it also shows that almost 11 percent have volunteered over 10 hours each month over the past year.
Voluntariness in a System
In the Voluntary Political Platform 2014 – 2019 of “Voluntariness Norway” we read the following:
“People demand more of organizations than ever before. That doesn’t mean people are not willing to participate, but they are more occupied with realizing their potential through participation than before. They expect a high degree of organisation when they do voluntary work and a high quality in regard to what the organizers are offering. For organizations to successfully recruit and retain members, donors and volunteers, it is necessary to provide more resources to facilitate, guide and inspire volunteers, as well as more resources for facilities, equipment, organization, instruction and so on so that members’ activities maintain the quality that is being sought after. “
This is and has been at the very center of BCC for decades. When many people want to help, it is important not to waste resources through poor organization and a lack of leadership. It requires much preparation for every one of the volunteers to feel that what they contribute with is significant and important.
BCC has developed and implemented electronic tools that facilitate and help to resolve the administrative and organizational tasks.
Voluntariness Reduces Social and Economic Differences
At the Top Leadership Conference, Prime Minister Erna Solberg also spoke about her own participation in voluntariness as follows: “I’ve been at Skøyen school and sold waffles, as a“handball-mum” and leader of the Conservative Party. Then a team from Groruddalen arrives and almost has an apocalyptic fit, when they see the Conservative leader standing and selling waffles like all the others. In their minds this would not have happened in the country they come from. And that’s part of the arena that voluntariness actually shows the equality and unity in our society. “
Volunteering is an excellent inclusion arena. BCC members come from most social and economic levels in society. Nonetheless the sense of solidarity is consistent and in the work we are all equal. The rich and the poor stand on an equal footing and in the voluntary work, members sense community and well-being.
Voluntariness is a success factor in BCC. It creates a lot of fun, a lot of humor and a lot of joy, and ensures that children and young people in BCC are given a future with a good framework.
BCC held seven international conferences at the Oslofjord Convention Center in Vestfold in 2015, with up to 50 000 participants from nearly 40 nations. BCC is experiencing a growing interest in participating in these conferences, while at the same time most of the conferences are TV transmitted and distributed over the internet worldwide. The desire to meet, build fellowship and experience something together with fellow believers, are strong and clear values which make it popular to come to BCC’s conferences.
At BCC’s conferences spiritual edification is the central factor. In addition, depending on the conference’s duration, there are often other activities arranged, particularly for children and youth. All these activities are mainly prepared by local churches. In addition, BCC cooperates with the Activity Club, Brunstad Youth Club and Xercize associations in regard to a number of other activities, such as Outdoor Challenge, sports tournaments, children’s musicals and children’s games.
BCC has a long history at Brunstad in Stokke, as owner of the place for 50 years since 1956. Since 2006, Brunstad has been owned by the Brunstad Foundation who rent the place out to Oslofjord Convention Center AS for commercial event operations. BCC still uses the place for their conferences and leases facilities and certain services from Oslofjord Convention Center AS.
EASTER CAMP 2015
Over 1500 Norwegian youth between 13 and 20 years and over 400 mentors in the age-group above, attended the Easter Camp. The aim of the camp was to bring together young people from Norway to an Activity Week where they, along with their peers, participate in activities in which they are interested. At the same time, participants received inspiration and encouragement through the Christian content during youth evenings. In 2015 BCC was able, in cooperation with the Activity Club, Brunstad Youth Club and Xercize, to offer 17 different activities in sports, media, music, art and leisure.
Each day Easter camp contained activities and tournaments and a gala feast on the concluding day. There were parallel tournaments in both ice hockey and volleyball throughout the camp. Mentors also had their own workshop, where key focus areas related to child and youth work were on the agenda. BrunstadTV produced a live broadcast from the Easter camp every night, with elements from the day’s activities.
Easter camp was very successful, something that was reflected in the next year’s camp, which was also adapted for international participation.
The Summer Conference 2015 was divided into two conference periods, the first in July and the second in August. In all, 7632 women and 7779 men from 38 countries attended. BrunstadTV had a full program just about every day throughout the summer conference. Over 150 volunteers worked on live production and coverage. In addition, content was created for the channel from several media groups in local churches worldwide.
BrunstadTV covered all spiritual edification and other activities.
The Summer Conference’s first part – the so-called main conference – has a strong focus on spiritual edification.
A highlight during the summer conference in 2015 was the great “Tent Feast.” The feast was hosted by the local churches from Østfold and Oslo and Follo who had secured admission tickets by beating the organizer church in the collection contest. Consisting of spiritual edification, musical pieces, films and shows the tent feast was a success and showed us that making a financial effort in order to preserve our children and young people and to give them favorable conditions, brings unity, motivation and gets us in a positive mood.
Summer Conference for youth
The youth conference brought together youth from 13 to 35 years of age. Altogether 3400 young women and 3452 young men from 38 countries participated. All the youth gathered together for spiritual edification twice a day.
The Activity Club´s Outdoor Challenge (OC) competition concept has been a tradition at the youth conference for many years.
The competition is team-based, with an equal number of boys and girls in each team.
The competition starts with a competition day at Risøya, a beautiful island in the Langesund archipelago. Participants compete to become one of the top four teams that will participate in the semi-finals and finals in the main hall at Brunstad.
In cooperation with Xercize, tournaments were organized in both volleyball and soccer, with finals in the main hall at Brunstad.
Summer Conference for Children
The Children’s Conference is the children’s annual highlight, spread over three full days with both Sunday school, games and activities for all children up to 13 years. The conference forms the conclusion of nearly two-weeks of experiences at Brunstad.
Last year’s opening of the children conference was a musical with singing, music, films and plays. The conference theme, “God loves a cheerful giver,” was conveyed in a good way through the story of Nora. Nora is a girl who would rather keep her things for herself and not share them with friends or siblings, but bit by bit she realizes what it means to give with joy. Nora learns to give and bless her fellow-beings in the everyday situations she encounters.
The Children´s Games 2015 was a fully packed show over three days. Every day during the conference the children got to meet The Amazing Professor Grym and his helpers, with the single goal of building a huge, fantastic candy machine. He has tried several times before without success. Every effort only leads to nasty, disgusting and smelly candy. Now he challenged all the children at Brunstad to help him. The Activity Club in Oslo Follo invested a lot of effort in getting the children involved in helping the professor find the right taste, color and smell. The games were spread over three days with these three themes.
BrunstadTV is a non-commercial TV channel that is distributed free of charge to BCC’s members. The channel’s vision is to provide positive Christian values to children, youth and families. In addition, the channel is an important medium for reaching out with spiritual edification and information. In 2015 BCC spent around NOK 25 million in the production of over 220 hours of new TV material.
Coworkers in BrunstadTV come from 11 different nations, and is thereby a diverse workforce with different qualities, genuinely involved in the channel’s vision and goals. BrunstadTV have several young people who participate in BCC’s youth program, and who work actively to learn the Norwegian language and culture while at the same time contributing to BrunstadTV´s production.
Further development and investment in 2015
In 2015 BrunstadTV has focused heavily on further developing both content production, expertise and equipment. The year was characterized by cooperation, development and fellowship. BCC believe that these are the qualities that will help the channel to be a good supplier of content and services for the association in the future.
As part of the transition to HD production, the image control equipment was updated to HD at the end of 2015. In order to raise the quality of series production new 4K cameras were also purchased. Further upgrades are planned in 2016. BrunstadTV´s employees attend courses and fairs to keep up to date and get more of a development in the industry and profession.
Further development of content
BrunstadTV sets high standards for its own content production, and several of the largest productions are in constant development. The monthly program “Brunstad Magazine” is an example of this. In 2015 BrunstadTV invested in a new studio, and feedback from viewers shows that the program is popular both as inspiration, entertainment and information.
The TV series “To Action!” was a huge success in autumn 2015. The program is a game show in the studio, where highly involved participants compete in cooperation, knowledge and understanding of the Bible. Youth from around the world followed along with the program, and both during and between television broadcasts, they worked with tasks, games and challenges in their local youth group. “To Action!” is an important part of the spiritual edification and development of a biblical understanding in these local groups.
Audience Ratings and Social Media
In 2015 BrunstadTV performed ratings to find out the viewership of the channel’s most central programs. For the most watched programs the ratings showed on average up to 8,000 viewers. Additionally, BrunstadTV conducted a number of small and large viewer surveys and contests to get feedback on what the public thought about what BrunstadTV produces. BrunstadTV uses Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to inform and keep in touch with its viewers.
BrunstadTV broadcasts their program content encrypted via Telenor’s satellite, THOR 5 as well as some programs made available via NetTV. In 2015 BrunstadTV transmitted approximately 220 hours of new material, divided into program series and multi-camera productions produced live.
YOUTH EXCHANGE PROGRAM
Youth Exchange Program (YEP) er et internasjonalt ungdomsprogram for de som ikke er statsborgere i et land innenfor EØS-området. Ungdomsprogrammet administreres av BCC. Programmet går normalt over ett år, og innebærer minst 20 timers undervisning per uke i norsk språk, norsk kultur, og bibelkunnskap. I tillegg gis det anledning til frivillig innsats for BCCs virksomhet.
Hovedinnholdet i programmet er:
• YEP skal gi kjennskap til BCCs trosgrunnlag og historie
• YEP skal gi opplæring i misjonsarbeid og menighetsliv
• YEP skal gi opplæring i norsk språk og kultur
• YEP skal bidra til respekt og toleranse gjennom samarbeid i et multikulturelt miljø
• YEP skal tilrettelegge for frivillig innsats i menighetens konferanser og prosjekter
Det er to opptak i året. I perioden fra januar til juli 2015 deltok 65 ungdommer fra Australia, Hviterussland, Brasil, Canada, Chile, India, New Zealand, Kina, Russland, Sør-Afrika, Ukraina og USA.
I perioden fra august til desember 2015 deltok 81 ungdommer fra Australia, Brasil, Canada, Chile, Kina, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Russland, Sør-Afrika, Sri Lanka, Ukraina og USA.
YEP arrangerer vanligvis en større tur i løpet av skoleåret, og i slutten av mai 2015 dro hele gruppen på opplevelsestur i Europa. I juni ble det avholdt avslutningsfest i Oslo.
Kjennskap til BCCs trosgrunnlag og historie
YEP deltok i 2015 på bibelundervisningen i regi av Brunstad Bibelskole. Bibelskolen startet sesongen i BCCs historiske museum, Forumsenteret, som ligger på Oslofjord Convention Center. Muséet åpnet sommeren 2008, og tar i hovedsak for seg BCCs historie fra år 1900 og frem til i dag. Opplevelsen i senteret starter i en 4D-kino og fortsetter i en utstilling der man går med en liten audioguide man kan peke på deler av utstillingen med, og høre historisk informasjon på seks forskjellige språk.
Bibelskolen har delt pensumet inn i åtte hovedtemaer. Skolen har tentamen i desember og eksamen i juni. Det gis ikke karakterer, men deltakerne får utdelt oppgaver som må løses ca. en uke før de blir gjennomgått. Alle som har fullført undervisningen får et kursbevis.
Opplæring i misjonsarbeid og menighetsliv
I tillegg til at det er en del av bibelskolens pensum, deltar YEP også jevnlig i workshops rundt misjonsarbeid og menighetsliv. Sentrale temaer er:
– Bevisstgjøring av mine muligheter for å gi oppmerk somhet, hjelp og omsorg
– Bevisstgjøring av mine muligheter til å trigge potensialet i de menneskene jeg omgås
– Betydningen av å være et selvstendig og reflektert menneske i et større felleskap
– Betydningen av å ta selvstendige valg som kan utgjøre en forskjell i mine omgivelser
– Muligheten til å bygge fellesskapet på tvers av bakgrunn, kulturer og egenskaper
Den mest effektive opplæringen foregår imidlertid gjennom deltakelse i det praktiske misjons- og menighetsarbeidet. YEP deltar i følgende aktiviteter gjennom de to sesongene programmet varer:
– TV-produksjon og filmproduksjon i BrunstadTV
– Kommunikasjon på web og sosiale medier
– Oversettelse av artikler fra norsk til morsmål
– Planlegging og gjennomføring av store internasjonale konferanser
– Planlegging av gjennomføring av mindre events med spesifikke temaer
– Besøk i forskjellige norske lokalmenigheter
– Praktisk gjennomføring av omsorgsarbeid på både små og store arenaer
Opplæring i norsk språk og kultur
En del av hensikten med YEP er nettopp å lære norsk språk og kultur. Deltakerne gjennomfører et norskkurs i flere faser, både ved leksjoner i klasserommet og på internett, før de gjennomfører eksamen og får kursbevis. I tillegg motiverer YEP kursdeltakerne til å bruke fritiden til ytterligere norskopplæring via konkurranser og treningsnotering på nett.
Deltakerne deltar aktivt på norske høytidsdager. Grunnlovsdagen, sankthans og jul feires etter norske tradisjoner. Videre arrangeres det aktivitetsdager sammen med lokalmenigheter rundt om i Norge, der alt foregår på norsk.
Respekt og toleranse i et multikulturelt miljø
BCC har tradisjon for å stimulere til nasjonal egenart i utenlandske lokalmenigheter. I YEP står er det derfor sentralt å gjøre seg kjent med, forstå og respektere hverandres kulturer. Dette kommer til syne blant annet på menighetens halvårlige misjonsfester som arrangeres av lokalmenigheter rundt om i hele verden.
Med 17 nasjoner representert, er YEP en aktuell arena for å bygge fellesskap på tvers av kulturer. Selv om deltakerne lærer norsk språk og norsk kultur, er året i YEP i høyeste grad internasjonalt. Deltakerne får derfor lov å promotere sin nasjonale egenart via kulturfester med nasjonalt preg, der alle i YEP deltar.
Med flere titalls mennesker fra mange kulturer som er sammen et helt år, får deltakerne et internasjonalt nettverk som de tar med seg videre i livet. Ved å delta i planlegging og gjennomføring av internasjonale konferanser på Brunstad, suppleres dette nettverket ytterligere.
Frivillig innsats i menighetens konferanser og prosjekter
YEP deltar i BCCs planlegging og gjennomføring av de internasjonale konferansene på Brunstad. Deltakerne får sin egen opplæringshåndbok og undervisning i helse, miljø og sikkerhet. Det holdes serveringskurs, og det gis opplæring i kundeservice, kommunikasjon, arbeidsmiljø, arbeidsmoral og holdninger.
BCC opplever hvert år stor pågang i søknader om deltakelse på YEP.
Brunstad Christian Church is organized as an independent non-profit association. The association’s members are the closest thing to being owners of BCC. In line with the bye-laws, the association’s funds are used to realize the aims of the association and cannot be used in any other way.
Responsibility for proper management of the association’s funds rests with the board to ensure that BCC uses its resources in accordance with the byelaws and according to Norwegian law. BCC is a nonprofit association, exempt from general tax liability under the Taxation Act.
BCC is pre-approved by the Inland Revenue Service as a voluntary organization where Norwegian donors (private and companies) get tax deductions for donations within certain limits. The threshold in 2015 for the above was NOK 20,000.
In 2015 BCC received NOK 234 million in donations from private individuals, companies and organizations. Voluntary donations form the mainstay of BCC’s economy.
BCC has good liquidity and at the end of the year had NOK 43 million in bank deposits.
The association has in recent years been assessed with a credit rating AAA, by recognized credit agencies.
BCC has invested in two business properties through its subsidiaries, financed through intercorporate loans from BCC totaling NOK 135 million.
Other loans, concern amongst others, loans to local churches and organizations associated with BCC. BCC has financed this by equity and taking up loans from local churches affiliated with BCC. At the end of the year BCC had no loans in independent financial institutions.
BCC has in recent years built up solid equity:
It is mainly the last years’ profits that form the basis for the association’s equity of 447 million NOK. It is largely BCC’s local churches that have contributed to its solid capital base in BCC, not least because of the result of the Golden Heart Project.
This project was described in BCC´s Annual Report 2014.
BCC is focused on good asset management and the particular increase in equity over the past three years has reinforced the association’s focus and awareness on risk and return. BCC has a low risk profile as a basis for their asset management.
BCC will continue to manage its equity in accordance with BCC´s aims.
Internal control and compliance
BCC has focus on good internal control and compliance in all processes and projects, and has sought consultancy support from reputable legal and financial consulting companies over several years.
As a voluntary organization BCC acts in accordance with a number of laws. Below is an overview of relevant legislation within two key areas:
Beyond this BCC also acts in accordance with a number of other key society laws such as the Marriage Act, Planning and Building Act, the Working Environment Act with many more. BCC also acts in accordance with non-statutory Association law.
The scope of the legislation has evolved so that BCC in recent years has strengthened its organization with expertise in these disciplines. Moreover, BCC has held courses and seminars for local churches on key topics such as regulations governing tax and VAT for NGOs.
Transfer of regional conference centers
During 2015 BCC started a process with the owners of several regional conference centers that BCC’s members belong to throughout the world. These have historically had a local or regional ownership structure, but have been largely financed by loans and guarantees from BCC. Conference centers are used regularly by several local churches in the different countries, but in many cases these local churches do not have the financial or practical possibility of operating or developing centers on their own. The process of acquisition of ownership was initiated to achieve predictability, continuity and economies of scale, both for BCC and the local churches. The process of acquisition of the conference centers is expected to be completed during 2016.
BCC’s Letter of Intent with Oslofjord Convention Center AS
BCC have made their intentions known to Oslofjord Convention Center AS (Oslofjord) that they wish to rent Brunstad for at least 20 years ahead. BCC has signed a letter of intent with Oslofjord, with the aim of signing a final contract at year end 2016/2017. BCC and Oslofjord are negotiating regarding the contents of this framework agreement that allows BCC to continue its conference activities at Brunstad.
Government grants to religious communities
Both central and local government provide a subsidy to religious communities outside the Norwegian Church (Church of Norway). The subsidy for each member corresponds to the state and municipal spending on CoN per member. In 2015 BCC received NOK 1013, – in public support per Norwegian membership. For the association’s 7997 Norwegian members this constituted NOK 3,886,542, – from the state, and NOK 4,216,466, – from municipalities. In addition, BCC received VAT compensation of NOK 3,532,256, – from the Ministry of Culture.
BCC keeps an updated overview of member data in accordance with legislation and circulars from the Ministry of Culture. Most of BCC´s new members are enrolled at birth based on their parents’ membership. BCC has a few cases of migration of members from other countries.
A member may resign by giving notice to the elder in his local church.
In 2015, 56 persons were registered as being members both in BCC and in another denomination. BCC has not received public support for these and has sent this information to the local churches in question asking for clarity as to which denomination they wish to be associated. Most of these cases apply to children whose parents have membership in their respective denomination.
An overview of BCC´s membership development in Norway over the last decade shows the following figures: