According to a Sept 30 financial report of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s “Joining Hearts and Hands” mission initiative, the campaign suffered a net loss in total gifts and pledges when compared to the previous quarter.
However, following the report, the campaign claimed that because of an “accounting error,” pledges were overstated by $265,000 in the June report. Thus, the adjusted total gifts and pledges in fact increased by $65,438 between the June-Sept period. Even so, the “Joining Hearts and Hands” campaign would be running on a negative balance when compared to the cost of financing it: the General Assembly Council, which has been paying for the campaign through its per-capita mission funds, spent $189,795.50 to raise the $65,438.19 this quarter.
The Presbyterian Layman, a conservative publication produced by independent Presbyterians within the PC(USA), noted that “In the three years since the campaign was begun by the 213th General Assembly in 2001, the campaign's expenses have totaled $1,684,747.46. Cash receipts have totaled $738,077.99, leaving the campaign with a negative cash flow of nearly $1 million – $946,569.47.”
Nonetheless, campaign officials explained that the high costs are due to the front-end expenses of beginning a major fundraiser.
To date, the campaign, which seeks to raise $40 million dollars by 2006, received gifts and pledges totaling $8,167,224.44. Of that amount, 82.7 percent – $7,675,125 – is in pledges, mostly for new church development. The campaign has a goal of raising $20 million for new church development and $20 million for foreign missions.
Joining Hearts and Hands was formally launched in 2002, following an overwhelming 97 percent support rate by the delegates to the denomination’s 214th General Assembly. The main commission of the campaign is to raise the membership of the PC(USA), which has been curbing downwards for decades.
“Joining Hearts & Hands is a sacred mission. It is the same mission to which Jesus persistently called his disciples to implement with the assurance that, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). Christ has entrusted this mission to us,” the campaign states. “We are Christ’s voice, hands and heart in the world.”