Senior leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), facing financial difficulty, are poised to make significant cuts in the denomination's $140 million mission budget.

John Detterick, executive director of the General Assembly Council, says he expects the 2002 budget shortfall to reach at least $2.5 million.

"Belt-tightening was inevitable, but uncertainty in both the economy and the church [has] moved up our timetable," Detterick told Presbyterian News Service.

The General Assembly Council this month will consider cuts in worldwide ministries, staff salaries, and capital projects. The PCUSA fields 800 full-time missionaries and volunteers worldwide.

Parker Williamson of the conservative Presbyterian Lay Committee says leaders have little maneuvering room. Most of the $140 million budget is earmarked for specific ministries. Only $18 million is undesignated. The mission budget covers ministries in the United States and other countries.

In other PCUSA news, the Presbyterian Foundation has cut more than 20 staff positions and slashed its $20 million budget by $2 million. Officials cite a decline in its stock portfolio and a drop in direct donations as two reasons for the cuts.

The organization manages assets of $1.6 billion for local congregations, the denomination's agencies, and individual donors.

Related Elsewhere

Related mainstream articles include:

Recession, terrorism hurt church charitiesThe Baltimore Sun (Dec. 23, 2001)
Economic slump forces churches to cut ministriesThe Detroit News (Dec. 18, 2001)
Presbyterians Anticipate Shortfall in 2002 BudgetThe Los Angeles Times (Dec. 15, 2001)

The official site of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) includes news articles and extensive information on the denomination.

In October, the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church trimmed its staff by 20 percent and cut other expenses because of the current faltering economy.

Some Christian relief and aid organizations also now face financial questions and belt-tightening.

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