From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Board of Pensions Proposes New Offering
12 May 1996 20:18:48
May 9, 1996
96169 Board of Pensions Proposes New Offering
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Countering a move by the General Assembly Council (GAC) to
reduce its portion of the Christmas Joy Offering, the Board of Pensions is
proposing that a new offering be established in the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) to raise money to assist retired church workers and their
The Board's proposal will go to the upcoming General Assembly in
Albuquerque as a comment to a recommendation by the GAC's Special Offerings
Task Group. The task group is recommending that the Board of Pensions'
portion of the Christmas Joy Offering be cut from 50 percent to 30 percent
in order to fund a new "children at risk" program.
The other half of the offering supports racial-ethnic schools and
"Our proposal grows out of the sense that it is not appropriate for
the Board to just react negatively to the GAC proposal," said Board of
Pensions president John Detterick. "If we disagree, we should offer a
positive alternative, and that is just what we have done. As long as we're
going to look at alternatives [for the special offerings], let's look at
The Board's proposal is to establish a fifth denominational special
offering. The four current offerings are the Christmas Joy Offering, the
One Great Hour of Sharing Offering, the Witness Offering and the
Peacemaking Offering. The Board of Pensions would promote and manage the
new offering, which would be received at a time to be determined by the
Proceeds from the "church workers offering" would fund three Board of
* shared grants -- which cover emergency or extraordinary expenses
of church workers on a shared basis with presbyteries
* income supplements -- which boost the pensions of low-income
retired church workers or their survivors
* subsidies for Medicare Supplement coverage.
In return for a church workers offering, the Board announced, it would
eliminate vacancy dues -- currently paid by churches between pastors at 12
percent of the salary of the departed pastor for up to one year -- and dues
paid by churches served by retired pastors.
Detterick told the Presbyterian News Service that money received from
vacancy dues has been "flat" for the last 10 years, while the Medicare
Supplement rates that have been subsidized by the vacancy dues have risen
113 percent, from $30 per month to $64 per month. "As a result," Detterick
noted, "the Medicare Supplement subsidy, which was intended to be 50
percent, has fallen to less than 25 percent."
The Rev. John McFayden of Woodbridge, Va., chair of the Special
Offerings Task Group, said the group considered such a change in the
special offering pattern but rejected it "because the loud message we got
was not to increase the number of special offerings." He said the task
group believes adding a fifth offering "is too much for congregations to
McFayden told the Presbyterian News Service he was also troubled by
the Board's proposal that it promote and manage the proposed new offering.
"One of the criteria for special offerings in our report," McFayden
explained, "is that promotion of special offerings be in a central
promotion office rather than in the programmatic entities so that the
special offerings can be promoted in the context of overall mission-funding
"There are lots of needs in the church," Detterick agreed. "Our
proposal is in the spirit of standing together as a church and finding the
best ways for the whole church to meet those needs."
McFayden said the Special Offerings Task Group "is just real cautious
about adding more offerings."
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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