From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Officials Say Work of Special Offering Task Group
04 May 1996 20:41:33
95454 Officials Say Work of Special Offering Task Group
Was a Spiritual And Analytical Process
by Julian Shipp
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Although their recommendations may not please everyone in
the denomination and have yet to be approved by the 208th General Assembly
(1996), officials involved with the Presbyterian Church's Special Offerings
Task Group say the group's work was a spiritual as well as an analytical
The report of the five-member task group was unanimously accepted by
the Congregational ministries Division (CMD) Committee at its Dec. 7-9
meeting here. The pattern of special offerings to be approved at the
Assembly will be in effect for the years 1998 through 2001, with present
patterns and dollar distributions holding through 1997.
The four, Assembly-designated special offerings are Christmas Joy,
Peacemaking, Witness and One Great Hour of Sharing.
The Rev. John McFayden, task group chair from Dale City, Va., said the
group was appointed by the CMD Committee at the end of 1994, following
authorization by the 203rd General Assembly (1991). He described the
group's work, which has consumed a little more than one year so far, as
"exhaustive and comprehensive."
"We strived through that whole process to listen to the entire
church," McFayden said. "In all of this we tried to listen to the guidance
of God through the voice of the church."
In developing the special offerings recommendations, the task group
completed more than 20 steps in its process. Among them were:
Agreeing from the outset to approach their task with intentional
time for prayer and biblical study, seeking God's guidance in the process
Mailing notification of the task group's membership and task to
synod executives, presbytery executives, and the elected chairpersons of
the General Assembly Council division committees, encouraging them to
notify constituents and inviting input from all interested persons
Requesting CMD's Research Services to develop and conduct a survey
through a Presbyterian Panel focusing on special offerings (Research
Services conducted focus groups in four geographical areas to provide
feedback used in the formulation of questions for the survey.)
Surveying 246 African American Presbyterian congregations with the
instrument prepared by the Presbyterian Panel
Conducting two open hearings July 19, 1995 at the 207th General
Assembly on overtures 93-24 and 93-27 regarding the Christmas Joy Offering
and overtures 94-76, 94-107 and 94-114 regarding peacemaking and
"I believe the logic of the task group is very compelling," said
Vivian L. Johnson, associate director for stewardship in the Congregational
Ministries Division. "The group's work was very thorough and they did not
start any deliberations until September after they had gathered all their
Johnson said the task group members were chosen by the CMD Committee
and the commitee fulfilled General Assembly mandates calling for balance
and diverse representation. In addition to clergy and lay people, Johnson
said, task group members represented various geographic areas, races,
ethnicity, ages and genders.
In addition to McFayden, task group members are the Rev. Frank
Colclough of Florence, S.C.; Richard Gibbons, a Presbyterian elder and
deacon from Tulsa, Okla.; the Rev. Mary Robinson-Mohr, of Sandpoint, Idaho;
and Sandy Wagener, a Presbyterian elder from Ankeny, Iowa.
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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