Wednesday, September 27, 2006

MIJHH update: Trust, stability of mission program affects giving; operating costs shortfall

MIJHH update: Trust, stability of mission program affects giving; operating costs shortfall:
"LOUISVILLE – Here’s the good news, according to Jan Opdyke, director of a major fund-raising campaign for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Presbyterians are willing to give generously to support the mission work of the church. Missionaries are eager to serve – “they’re ready to get on a plane” if money can be found to send them, she said in an interview.

So far, more than $25 million has been pledged for the $40 million Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts and Hands campaign, with about three-quarters of that coming through partnerships with seven presbyteries, Opdyke told the General Assembly Council’s Executive Committee Sept. 26. People are saying, “We love the church, we want to support it, we want to put new mission personnel in the field.”

But that ties into the bad news: right now, there doesn’t appear to be enough money to pay the campaign’s operating expenses in 2007, because so much of the money being given to the campaign is being restricted by the donors for specific uses. ..."

It will take a while to build up trust again, but in the meantime, I hope people can send enough undesignated money to keep this initiative going.

Another factor in all this is that people, understandably, want to donate money to a particular mission or missionary that they can pray for by name and have personal interactions with.

There is nothing wrong with that, but if I understand correctly, there are agencies within the PC(USA) that handle that already -- The Outreach Foundation and the Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship work closely with each other and support mission efforts worldwide.

Joining Hearts and Hands " a five-year campaign in partnership with individuals, congregations, and presbyteries to raise $40 million for national church growth and the expansion of our mission work abroad" , and if designated gifts accumulate in one area to the detriment of other areas under their purview, then it effectively cripples the entire program.

General Assembly Council is meeting in Louisville this week, and this issue has been placed before them. Prayer is always appropriate, and is acutely needed at this time.

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