From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Mission Initiative campaign financially squeezed

From News Service <newsservice@CTR.PCUSA.ORG>
Date Tue, 26 Sep 2006 14:07:14 -0400

You are currently subscribed to the PCUSANEWS listserv of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

=========================================================== This story located at:

06485 September 26, 2006

Mission Initiative campaign financially squeezed

Not enough operating funds coming in, Opdyke opines

by Jerry Van Marter

LOUISVILLE - A five-year, $40 million campaign to raise funds for new churches and more overseas missionaries is in danger of having to shut down early because not enough operating funds are available, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s General Assembly Council Executive Committee was told today.

"We only have enough operating funds to last through February of 2007," Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts and Hands (MIJHH) campaign director Jan Opdyke told the group today. "Pledges are being kept, but donors are choosing to designate their money rather than give it unrestricted, which is where our operating funds come from," Opdyke said.

"They're telling us, 'We love the church, but we won't give unrestricted,'" she said, noting the erosion of trust in the denomination, which is wracked by conflict and undergoing a major restructuring of its mission program. "Trust is an issue."

Executive committee member Thomas Gillespie told Opdyke that "given the atmosphere in the church these days, I'm amazed you've been able to do what you've done. Gillespie urged the committee to "do whatever we have to to keep this campaign going - losing it now would be devastating.

Opdyke said the campaign to date has raised almost $26 million of the $40 million set by the 2002 General Assembly. The money was to be evenly divided between additional overseas mission personnel and new church development in this country, particularly racial ethnic and immigrant congregations.

Seventy-five percent of the funds raised so far have gone to new churches, Opdyke said. "And so we've turned our efforts to the missionary force. I have no fear that we won't raise the money - Presbyterians get it, they want to give."

Opdyke said she didn't anticipate when the campaign started that bringing in enough unrestricted contributions to fund the campaign's operating expenses would be a problem.

The General Assembly mission budget fully funded the first two and a half years of the campaigns expenses; that support was reduced to 50 percent in 2005 and for 2006 and 2007 the campaign was designed to be self-supporting.

"But in the last few months," she said, "donors that pledged more than $500,000 unrestricted have told us that money will still come in but it will be designated. That $500,000 would have covered our operating expenses for the remainder of the campaign."

The campaign is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2007.

The financial problem creates a "Catch-22," Opdyke said. "We could do more campaigns in partnership with presbyteries if we had the staff. We know that when we partner with presbyteries money flows and it's shared throughout the church. There's no lack of money and people who want to give it. What we lack is the means to reach them.

"This campaign should be bigger - people in the pews believe and want to give," Opdyke said. "We should be asking for more, not less."

New GAC executive director Linda Valentine said the operating cash shortfall is "a serious concern." She told the committee she'll meet with the MIJHH steering committee next month. "I'm a firm supporter of this campaign and we need to solve this issue in short order."

=========================================================== You are currently subscribed to the PCUSANEWS listserv of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

To unsubscribe, send a blank message to

To update your email address, send your old email address and your new one to

For questions or comments, send an email to

To learn more, visit

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 100 Witherspoon Street Louisville, KY 40202 (888) 728-7228

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home