From the Worldwide Faith News archives

GAC Accepts Recommendations of

Date 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   Web page: 


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