MC USA funding system not workingby Everett J. Thomas
In a July 8 delegate session at Pittsburg 2011, delegates heard that the funding system in Mennonite Church USA is broken. MC USA leader Marty Lehman said the first fruits concept, established at the beginning of Mennonite Church USA in 2001, was good, but the implementation of the theology behind was not.
Lehman listed numerous problems with the implementation:
1) Not all MC USA agencies and groups are included.
2) It required that area conferences would change their funding patterns; only two conferences made that transition.
3) The plan assumed financial health for each church-wide agency, but many have struggled during the recession [and couldn’t fulfill their obligations to fund the Executive Board]. There is no Plan B.
4) The Executive Board relies totally on gifts from the church-wide agencies and area conferences, and the EB has not been allowed to do direct fundraising.
“The fundraising system,” Lehman said, “was supposed to reduce direct solicitation [to individuals]. But, in fact, it has increased. There is a tension in the way we do fundraising.”
After a period of table group discussions and open mic comments, the delegate assembly voted on whether the Executive Board should launch a review of the funding system. Delegates voted overwhelmingly for such a review.
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