From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
GAC Accepts Recommendations of
04 May 1996 16:05:54
96091 GAC Accepts Recommendations of
Special Offerings Task Group
by Julian Shipp
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The General Assembly Council (GAC) has accepted the
recommendations of the Special Offerings Task Group, which call for
significant changes for two of the Presbyterian Church's four "special
offerings" -- the Witness Offering and the Christmas Joy Offering.
There are no changes to the other two offerings -- the One Great Hour
of Sharing Offering and the Peacemaking Offering.
Included in the recommendations: that the Christmas Joy Offering be
expanded to include programs for "children at risk" and that the Witness
Offering be reconstituted as a Pentecost Offering, with funds being
designated for youth ministries.
The task group's report, which examined churchwide participation in
these offerings, was endorsed by the Congregational Ministries Division
(CMD) Committee last December and approved Feb. 23 by the GAC. Subject to
approval by the General Assembly, the changes will go into effect in 1998.
Currently, half of Christmas Joy Offering receipts go to racial-ethnic
schools and half go to the Board of Pensions. The task group proposed that
the offering be divided three ways: 50 percent to racial- ethnic schools,
30 percent to the Board of Pensions, and 20 percent to programs for
children facing hunger, poverty, violence and other threats to their
"With the addition of this element," said task group chair the Rev.
John H. McFayden, "we feel we have an offering that responds to all the
generations of God's children."
The task group's research showed that giving to the Witness Offering
has declined 34 percent over the past few years, and that fewer than 35
percent of Presbyterian congregations participate in the offering. The
offering has been taken by most congregations on Pentecost Sunday and
traditionally has helped maintain mission personnel, support evangelism,
and develop educational materials for small and racial-ethnic
The task group believes a new name -- and new emphasis on supporting
youth ministries -- will boost participation in the Witness Offering.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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