From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 08:07:03


                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Buoyed by better than expected financial reports for 1994, 
the General Assembly Council (GAC) approved a 1996 General Assembly mission 
budget totaling $110.8 million at its March 8-12 meeting here.  The budget 
now goes to the 1995 General Assembly for adoption. 
     The 1996 figure is $4.3 million less than the 1994 budget but $3.6 
million higher than the 1995 budget adopted by last year's General 
     And continuing the pattern of recent years, it is based upon an 
anticipated decline in unrestricted giving that is more than offset by 
increased designated giving. 
                 1994 results exceed expectations 
     According to figures released at the GAC meeting by controller Nagy 
Tawfik, the General Assembly mission enterprise finished 1994 with a $1.6 
million surplus.  Total receipts were $103 million, $10.4 million under 
budget.  Total expenses were $101.5 million, $13.7 million under budget.   
     Tawfik attributed that result to "the commitment expressed by 
congregations, presbyteries and synods ... and the planning by the GAC and 
its staff ... during difficult times." 
     Withholding of funds from the General Assembly by sessions objecting 
to the church's involvement in the controversial November 1993 Re-imagining 
Conference raised fears of a financial debacle in 1994. Accordingly, the 
GAC reduced the budget by $1.9 million in the middle of the year and GAC 
leaders instituted an austerity spending program for the remainder of the 
     Tawfik reported that unrestricted income, which was most affected by 
Re-imagining protests, came in less than 1 percent below  budget while the 
unrestricted portion of the expense budget was underspent by a whopping 
10.5 percent ($4.7 million). 
             Outlook somewhat brighter for 1995, 1996 
     The Presbyterian Church faces "a lot less uncertainty than in 1994," 
said G.A. "Pat" Goff, director of Corporate and Administrative Services. 
He said the 1994 financial results mean the 1995 budget faces little 
revision.  That budget, adopted by last year's General Assembly, totals 
$107.2 million. 
     The 1995 income projections include a 5 percent decline in 
unrestricted giving -- a continuing pattern.  However, a new formula by 
which the Presbyterian Foundation distributes income from endowments to the 
mission budget is expected to generate an additional $3 million this year. 
"This is a healthy increase in restricted income," Goff noted. 
     The GAC approved a 1996 budget totaling $110.8 million.  That budget, 
too, includes a 5 percent decline in unrestricted giving by congregations, 
which represents about a quarter of the General Assembly's income.  All of 
the increases are traced to increased income from restricted endowments. 
        Reversing decline in unrestricted giving targeted 
     "Somewhere down the line we will need a blue-ribbon panel to address 
how to reverse the decline in unified (unrestricted) giving," Goff advised. 
     Council member the Rev. John B. Evans, executive presbyter for New 
Harmony Presbytery, concurred.  "We've got some excitement about many new 
programs that if they are marketed properly will be supported by 
presbyteries and congregations," he said.  "We have not had a well-rounded 
asking program in many years." 
                              # # # 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
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