We are considered a “free church” and therefore do not receive any funds from the German church tax system. What exactly does this mean?
In Germany, the two main German religious communities, the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church (Evangelische Kirche) are supported through what is called a church tax.
Each person gets a small amount deducted from their monthly income by their employer based on the church of their membership. The idea behind this is great. Everyone contributes a little to support the Church, which then “takes care” of churchly things like weddings, baptisms, first communion, confirmation, funerals, etc. The system works very well in Germany and helps to fund your neighborhood church.
Free churches like the Episcopal Church, however, do not benefit in any way from this tax. We very much depend on our worship community to provide the financial means needed for pastors and musicians, communion wine and bread, worship booklets, brochures, etc.
St. Michael’s Church has been granted tax-free status by the German authorities as a registered Association so all donations to St. Michael’s Church are tax-deductible.