From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
[PCUSANEWS] MISSION DRIVE TOPS $8 MILLION
PCUSA NEWS <PCUSA.NEWS@ecunet.org>
Thu, 25 Mar 2004 14:21:16 -0600
Note #8181 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:
Mission drive tops $8 million
March 25, 2004
MISSION DRIVE TOPS $8 MILLION
Major gift from Santa Fe Presbytery is big boost for campaign
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE - A $1.7 million pledge from Santa Fe Presbytery has lifted the
Presbyterian Church (USA)'s Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts and Hands
campaign above the $8 million mark.
Just over a year into the five-year, $40 million effort to raise funds for
overseas mission personnel and for new churches in this country, especially
in racial-ethnic and immigrant communities, campaign director Jan Opdyke
said: "It's going very well."
"Have there been fits and starts? Yes," she conceded. "But we're organized
and efficient, and we have a huge volunteer force that's producing huge cost
Through it all, the campaign has continued to pick up steam, which Opdyke
attributed to the skill and dedication of the steering committee and staff
and to "the overwhelming response of Presbyterians all around the country."
Despite budget crunches in Louisville, individuals, congregations and
governing bodies are expressing support for the campaign "because they
believe this is something we can all do as Presbyterians," Opdyke told the
Presbyterian News Service in a March 24 interview.
"The needs are there, and everyone knows the needs are there," she said.
"Worldwide Ministries has a long list of missionary positions they're ready
to fill as soon as they get the money. And most presbyteries have new
churches and immigrant fellowships just waiting for additional support so
they can take their next steps. It's clear to me that we don't have to try
and convince people of the need.
"We just have to match the particular needs with the people who have passion
to meet those particular needs."
Opdyke insisted she's not concerned about a campaign that has not, to date,
followed textbook fund-raising methods. Experts say at least 75 percent of a
campaign goal should be raised from a few major donors before the "public"
phase begins. The Mission Initiative was launched with a public splash at the
Assembly in Columus, OH, before a single penny had been raised.
"That's PC(USA) polity," she shrugged, "and we've already agreed this is how
we're going to do it. We'll use sound fund-raising methods and good
That means every Presbyterian will have the chance to contribute, she added.
"I don't want anyone to think this is just a 'major gifts campaign.' We're
doing a campaign, and right now we're in a deliberate phase of nurturing
larger gifts to propel us forward, but by 2007 we'll certainly want every
The bulk of the initial $8.1 million has come from three individual donors
and two presbyteries - Los Ranchos and Santa Fe. The interest of presbyteries
- not initially anticipated for campaign - makes sense, Opdyke said: "We're
attractive to presbyteries like Los Ranchos and Santa Fe because they have
local needs that fit well within this campaign."
Three-quarters of Los Ranchos' $4.5 million pledge and half of Santa Fe's
commitment will remain in those presbyteries. Such designated giving, part of
a long-standing trend in the PC(USA), is to be expected, Opdyke said,
predicting the same 70 percent-to-30 percent split between restricted and
unrestricted contributions that is characteristic of overall mission giving
in the church.
"People are very interested in this campaign, but they like to designate
because they have a particular heart for a certain place or a specific kind
of mission," she said. "That's fine with us, because there's plenty of needs
Perhaps the greatest blessing to the campaign has been the enlistment of 17
volunteers - all former regional representatives of the Presbyterian
Foundation - to work on the campaign. "These are committed Presbyterians
who've served and loved the church their whole lives who want to help because
they love the church," Opdyke said.
The volunteers, who live all around the United States, "will be talking to
people whose names they've been given by the Mission Initiative steering
committee," she said, adding that an extensive list of prospects has been
developed "almost from scratch" in the past year.
Opdyke said she shares the desire of General Assembly Council officials that
a whole new way of thinking about and funding the mission of the church will
emerge from the Mission Initiative campaign.
"Our tagline is 'A campaign to renew the church for mission,'" she said.
"This is really the heart and soul of the campaign, to move people's thinking
from scarcity to abundance. Let's face it: Presbyterians have abundant
resources. Collectively we have more than enough to fund all our mission"
Clearly, mission is Opdyke's personal passion. "I'm the product of
Presbyterian mission," she declared. As a pre-schooler in Sarasota, FL, she
said, "My parents put me in a Presbyterian-sponsored kindergarten because
there wasn't a public one. From there I started Sunday School, so I grew up
hearing stories about Presbyterian mission. How many kids today don't have
that who ... need to hear what I've heard, and know about the gospel?
"Presbyterians got it right when I was a kid and all my life," she concluded.
"There need to be Presbyterian churches here and there and in every
neighborhood all around the world."
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