From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
GAC ASKED TO RESCIND CONTROVERSIAL
05 May 1996 15:18:45
95235 GAC ASKED TO RESCIND CONTROVERSIAL
ADMINISTRATIVE FEE PROPOSAL
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The General Assembly Council (GAC) will be asked to
rescind a controversial proposal to charge administrative fees for
designated gifts to the General Assembly mission budget. The move to
reverse a recommendation the GAC approved earlier this year will come
before the Council during its Cincinnati meeting, just days before the
"The division at GAC was right down the middle," the Rev. John Fife of
Tucson, Ariz., told the Presbyterian News Service. "A good case can be
made that there needs to be a lot of education in the church before the
Assembly deals with this one."
When the Council approved the report of its Dollar Distribution Task
Force (DDTF) in March, it approved by a 27-26 vote the addition of the
administrative cost proposal. Fife argued then that such fees be added
and says he will now make the motion at this meeting to rescind that
"It is still my belief ... this is very important and needs to be
done," said Fife, who understands the debate to be one about fairness in
giving. "But it needs the broader support of the GAC and the church as a
Fife told the Office of the Stated Clerk in a June 28 letter that he
will also move to refer the issue of administrative costs to a work group
on a comprehensive strategy for mission funding.
Such prior notification is required by Robert's Rules of Order.
The Rev. William McIvor of Spokane, Wash., who chaired the DDTF, says
it is "inevitable" that other ways to pay the denomination's core costs
will need to be developed as unified giving shrinks.
Unified giving -- or nondesignated dollars -- have historically footed
the bill for the denomination's administrative costs, such as electricity,
accounting and auditing.
"But it's not the right time," said McIvor in a telephone interview.
"There are lots of stresses and strains throughout the financial system --
not just at the General Assembly level.
"Congregations, synods and presbyteries are feeling the stress."
McIvor says three overtures are coming to the Assembly opposing the
charging of administrative fees for designated gifts.
The DDTF report will go to the Assembly in July, along with two other
funding proposals: a report on per capita and one on funding the
denomination's 16 synods.
Fife says those who choose to give designated monies do not pay for
costs the denomination absorbs to dispense those dollars responsibly. "It
costs us money to be certain their gifts are used in the way they
designate," Fife has argued in this debate. "Costs for auditing. Costs
But, he says, history and tradition are blocking change now. "It is
the normal resistance any change engenders," Fife told the Presbyterian
The DDTF report also proposes standardizing procedures across the
church for collection and accounting of funds.
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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