From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
SPECIAL OFFERINGS TASK GROUP BEGINS WORK
05 May 1996 13:00:55
95097 SPECIAL OFFERINGS TASK GROUP BEGINS WORK
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Authorization of a Presbyterian Panel survey and approval
of General Assembly hearing dates were initial actions taken by the Special
Offerings Task Group (SOTG) during its orientation meeting here last week.
The Rev. John G. McFayden of Dale City, Va., chair, also asked the
group's four other members to come to the SOTG's September meeting prepared
to reflect theologically on the nature and purpose of special offerings.
"The task group is committed to trying to focus on the mission of the
church and trying to discern -- through input from the church at large --
where our offerings and how our offerings can focus on furthering that
mission and support of it," McFayden told the Presbyterian News Service.
"We're cautioning ourselves about drawing conclusions," he said,
calling such opinions too premature for now.
Special offerings now underwrite roughly 15 percent of the
Presbyterian Church's mission, according to statistics from 1994 and
projections into 1997 as recorded by Corporate and Administrative Services.
The task group was appointed by the Congregational Ministries Division
Committee to conduct a scheduled four-year review of the current offerings:
* One Great Hour of Sharing (Easter Sunday), receipts of which go to
Self-Development of People, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and
Presbyterian World Service
* The Witness Offering (usually Pentecost Sunday), receipts of which
go to overseas mission, evangelism and church development and education
* The Peacemaking Offering (World Communion Sunday), receipts of which
are distributed among presbytery, synod and denominational peacemaking
programs less 25 percent that congregations are encouraged to keep for
local peacemaking activities
* The Christmas Joy Offering (Sunday before Christmas), funds of which
are divided between Board of Pensions income supplements for retired church
workers living with depleted assets and the church's eight racial ethnic
The task group's recommendations will go to the 1996 General Assembly
and will impact offerings taken from 1998 to 2002, according to McFayden.
Five overtures have been submitted to this year's General Assembly
suggesting changes in the distribution of money collected by two offerings.
Two propose eliminating support for racial ethnic schools from the
Christmas Joy Offering and three urge that the Peacemaking Offering
funding be used to establish and staff an Environmental Justice Office that
was proposed in the 1990 denominational policy statement "Restoring
Creation for Ecology and Justice."
The SOTG reported that hearings on the overtures are set for the
afternoon of July 19 in Cincinnati. Peacemaking Offering hearings will be
held from 2:00 to 2:45 p.m., and Christmas Joy Offerings hearings from 3:00
to 3:45 p.m.
Hearings began in Louisville last week with national staff members
whose programs are recipients of offering dollars.
In its final action, the SOTG began work reviewing a questionnaire on
churchwide special offerings for the May Presbyterian Panel -- and
committed to reviewing results at its September 25-28 meeting here.
"We'll be assessing how well [the special offerings] do, how appealing
they are," said Elder Dick Gibbons of Tulsa, Okla., adding that some are
criticized for producing less than expected and others for having outgrown
Gibbons, a retired fund-raising consultant, describes the One Great
Hour of Sharing Offering as the denomination's "flagship fund." He said,
"In the minds of most people in the church, when you say One Great Hour of
Sharing, they know exactly what you are talking about. It has found its
market and it will continue to be successful year in, year out. ...
"It will be with us a long time," Gibbons said. "Probably another 50
Other task group members are the Rev. Frank Colclough of Florence,
S.C.; the Rev. Mary Robinson-Mohr of Sandpoint, Idaho; and Sandy Wagener of
Letters regarding special offerings should be sent to the
Congregational Ministries Division, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY
40202-1396, c/o Patsy Mills, senior administrative assistant and staff to
the task group.
# # #
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
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .