Posted by: Titus Presler | July 8, 2009

Resolution A128 Funding Missionaries – Reasons for support

Resolution A128 from the Standing Commission on World Mission expresses the commission’s conviction that missionaries are important to the church’s world mission and that therefore the budget allocation for missionaries needs to be increased by $1 million over the coming triennium.  That’s a tall order in the present financial situation of the church, but the resolution deserves strong support from deputies and from PB&F (the Program, Budget and Finance Committee):

• Missionary presence is not the only important international outreach of the church, but it is an essential one.  At the invitation of the host church, missionaries make the commitment and take the risk of leaving home and setting up home among people of another culture.  They come to know the culture in ways inaccessible to short-term visitors, important as those also are, and are able to make unique contributions and form especially important relationships.

• Missionaries are vitally important to us in the sending church as well, for their knowledge helps us understand the global church, a role especially important in the current crisis of the Anglican Communion.  Indeed, the decline in the number of Episcopal missionaries since the 1960s may partly account for how far behind many Episcopalians have felt in understanding the dynamics of the Anglican Communion beyond North America.

• Missionaries living in local contexts abroad – whether for a year, three years or longer – are important links for other kinds of outreach from the sending church.  Young Adult Service Corps volunteers, who are people in their 20s serving usually for a year, benefit greatly from being mentored by older missionaries who have been in the area longer.  Likewise missionaries are very helpful to short-team pilgrimage teams on visits from parishes or dioceses in the Episcopal Church.

• Increased funding is needed simply to maintain the current number of missionaries, not to increase that number, as the resolution makes clear.  Adequate health care, orientation, pastoral care, reentry care and pensions are the needs, and this measure will provide for that at the current levels of assignment.  So this resolution is extremely modest: maintenance, not expansion, is in view.

• The current missionary deployment level is itself extremely modest: 75 missionaries from a church of 2.2 million members is a very small number.  The ELCA supports 240 missionaries.  Yes, the ELCA has double our membership, but their support of missionaries is hugely more substantial: regular salaries and benefits, in contrast to the Episcopal Church’s very minimal support, with missionaries increasingly responsible for raising much of their own support.  There are defensible reasons for both these policies of our church (though in an ideal world I would press for different policies), but the point is that the DFMS support for missionaries from General Convention is minimal compared to such sister churches as the ELCA, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).  The Reformed Church in America is striking for its policy that missionaries’ compensation is equal to that of  an average church salary of that church in the USA, and most of that compensation is paid into an account for each missionary in the USA.  While popular perceptions of the Episcopal Church associate it with wealth, Episcopal missionaries operate on a shoestring compared to their colleagues in other mainline churches.

Text of the resolution:

RESOLUTION A128 FUNDING MISSIONARIES
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church maintain
level of commitment to sending persons of this Church as mission partners throughout the world be maintained
at current levels of approximately 75 persons, and that all mission partners be provided adequate health insurance,
participation in the pension plans of The Episcopal Church, outgoing orientation, in field pastoral care and
reentry briefing; and be it further [sic; evidently some garbling in the Blue Book text of this paragraph]

Resolved,  That the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society reaffirm its continuing mandate to engage this
Church in the restoration of all people to unity with God and each other in Christ and that it carries out this
mission by engaging its members in ministries with others throughout the world; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to
consider a budget allocation of $1,377,000 for the year 2010; $1,440,000 for the year 2011; and $1,543,000 for the
year 2012, for the support of Mission Personnel.

EXPLANATION
The SCWM strongly affirms the Domestic and Foreign Mission Society’s focus on missionary engagement and
understands our commitments in this area to be central to the DFMS mandate. The proposed budget for mission
personnel includes increases that will make it possible to continue the current level of mission sending. (This
increase affects mission personnel only and does not increase Episcopal Church Center staff salaries.) The
substantial increase the first year and the additional increases in the second two years of the triennium are
mandatory if we are to provide necessary health insurance, pension and other benefits.  The budget request from
the SCWM reflects an increase in the Mission Personnel budget of $250,000 in 2010, with additional increases of
$100,000 each year following.

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Responses

  1. Dear Brothers Sisters and Pastors

    Our Lord Jesus Christ gives you more and more blessing from his heaven. I am very glad to get this one. But it is not clear to me to whom we can submit for our Methodist schools project of three centers. I am sending you some details from which you can make your own conclusions. deduct the conclusions yourselves.

    Introduction to my parish
    Bahawalpur (Desert) is the most backward area of southern Punjab. As Pakistan herself is a very poor country, if our desert is the most backward area then you can imagine the lives of the people in the desert.

    Christians are a minority, and minorities in Pakistan are the most vulnerable group to the mistreatment of the government and the Muslim majority.

    Three of the recent heart-rending incidents are:
    1. Incident of Shanti Nagar, where more than 60 houses were burnt and all the valuables of those houses were damaged.
    2. Incident of our Bahawalpur Church, in which 16 Christians were gunned down while they were praying on Sunday Morning
    3. The very recent incident of a mob in the city of Gojra, angered by rumors that the Koran had been desecrated, set fire to Christian homes. Seven Christians died.
    The above written incidents are a few of hundreds such incidents.

    How can you help uplift the Christians of this area?
    Pakistan is home to about 155 million Christians. The parish I am serving has about 150,000 Christians. But to your surprise not more than 3,000 Christians are highly educated. Higher education is very expensive here, and it not possible for Christians to send their children to colleges and universities. Only some people get the chance to go college and university.

    Bishop’s request to you
    We are constantly praying for this noble cause and requesting to you to pray for us. I personally request you to support two or three Methodist schools for poor and needy students of our parish. Your small deed will help us build the Kingdom of God in the desert here in the Methodist Episcopal Church, Bahawalpur Diosese.

    After your kind replay we will send you Budget Project File.

    Thanks.

  2. Can you work in my diocese?

  3. Good! Very Good. Jesus is with you

  4. We want to partner with you, in missionary outreach, church expansion, building of churches and evangelism.

  5. partnering with your ministry in evangelism,outreaches,church expansion and planting and buildings of churches and many other projects.


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