From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Martyrs' Fund Account Shows Slightly
04 May 1996 20:40:53
95464 Martyrs' Fund Account Shows Slightly
over Six Thousand Dollars
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--A fund created last summer to assist the families of
Presbyterians who die because of their ministries in other countries now
holds $6,307.43, according to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation.
"It's probably the most active fund we've had in quite a while," said
Tom Drake, the Foundation's associate for gift compliance. "Gifts range
from 20 to 300 dollars from individuals and churches."
He said some churches are taking up special offerings.
The fund was established by the 1995 General Assembly at the request
of Baltimore Presbytery. Baltimore Presbytery will be adding another $1,000
to the account, matching the Assembly offering which opened it.
The Assembly mandated that the first recipient of money be Maria
Francisca Ventura de Saquic, 41, the widow of the Rev. Manuel Saquic, who
was murdered last spring in Guatemala for his human rights work. She is
now supporting six children, ranging in age from 8 to 22, as well as a
daughter-in-law and a two-year-old granddaughter.
"Probably Guatemala is not much different than other countries in the
Third World," said Julia Ann Moffett, the Worldwide Ministries Division
liason to Central America. "When a husband dies, there is no pension, no
insurance; so the family, which has been supported by the husband, has to
figure out how to hold itself together."
Moffett said it costs Guatemalan families about $100 each year to send
one child to junior high in the public school system, $300, for high
school, and $40 for elementary school. The money goes for materials,
public transportation and snacks. Private schools cost three times as
She said the Presbyterian Church of Guatemala intends to pay to
educate the Saquics' two oldest daughters at a church-related school. Both
girls are currently unenrolled, since they had to go into hiding after
their father's murder.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports that 49 percent of
Guatemala's population above the age of 15 is illiterate, according to 1989
Former General Assembly moderator Herb Valentine, Baltimore
Presbytery's executive, says he came up with the idea of the Martyrs' Fund
as a practical help for families who are in "desperate need of help
financially ... just to carry them through."
Baltimore Presbytery has been sensitized to needs in Guatemala because
of its partnership with Kaqchikel Presbytery there, Valentine said. But
similar atrocities go on all over the world, he added, and protest alone is
an inadequate response. "This is just tangible means to express the
Income from the fund's principal will be dispensed under the direction
of the Worldwide Ministries Division.
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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