From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 12:54:55


                         By Julian Shipp 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The future of the four General Assembly-designated special 
offerings -- Peacemaking, One Great Hour of Sharing, Christmas Joy and 
Witness -- was examined by the Special Offerings Task Group at its first 
meeting here March 20-23. 
     Appointed by the Congregational Ministries Division (CMD) Committee, 
the five-member group, chaired by the Rev. John H. McFadden of Santa Rosa, 
Calif., will make recommendations to the 1996 Assembly about the pattern of 
special offerings for the years 1998 to 2002. 
     Vivian L. Johnson, CMD's associate director of stewardship, said 
anyone with comments or concerns about special offerings is invited to 
participate in an open hearing July 19 at the 1995 General Assembly in 
     In the meantime, Johnson said, her office continues to receive letters 
from people expressing concerns about the offerings. She said background 
information on the special offerings was mailed to all synod and presbytery 
executives March 6.  
     "We have received all kinds of creative suggestions about what ought 
to be done to those special offerings," Johnson said. "One letter said 
don't change anything, the church can't bear any more change right now. 
Another advises us to have six offerings, including one for Christian 
unity, which would support all of our ecumenical work. And I'm sure there 
will be many more of these letters to come."  
     Keith Wulff, coordinator for research services, said he will convene 
up to eight focus groups comprised of up to 10 people each in southern 
California, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, N.C., Louisville and possibly 
Cincinnati. Information gleaned from the focus groups will be added to an 
upcoming Presbyterian Panel survey on special offerings issues. 
     The findings will be reported back to the task group. Ultimately, 
Wulff said, this information will be distributed throughout the entire 
     If preliminary letters are an accurate indicator, Johnson said, 
changes to special offerings are imminent. 
     "I would assume that [task group members] are not going to 
rubber-stamp the status quo process [of special offerings] because there 
are some things that frankly are not working in our church," she said. 
                                 # # # 

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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