Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Essential to the Life of the Church

Here is a letter I just sent to Presbyweb concerning the denomination's "Joining Hearts and Hands Campaign."

Dear Editor,

I must concur with Arthur Kinsler in his recent Presbyweb viewpoint, "Fish, or Cut Bait!" If memory serves me correctly, the "Joining Hearts and Hands Campaign" began in response to budget cuts of missionaries. As missionaries retired, the PCUSA was not planning to replace them. Some good intentioned folks felt that the solution was this $40 million dollar campaign.

Beyond the problem of missed goals and restricted funds, the campaign was misguided in the first place. It suggests that new church development and international mission is something extra--beyond the normal stewardship of our denomination.

Most of our churches do not have campaigns to raise money for the electric bill. Those costs are part of the normal budget of the church. Which is more intrinsic to our identity as the church of Jesus Christ--missions or electricity? For all the good work that will be accomplished with the "Joining Hearts and Hands" money, the campaign suggests that mission is something less than essential to the life of the church.


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