Today the PCUSA was given a wonderful gift—and a challenge. Stan Anderson, a Presbyterian businessman from Denver, gave $ 150 million to the church to create The Loaves and Fishes Fund which will give grants to presbyteries for church growth, theological education and mission. Between $250,000 to $1 million can be awarded in a single grant. Presbyteries will have to match part of the money for their project.
What a wonderful gesture of confidence in the ability of the denomination to use this money to renew itself and halt the relentless loss of members that we have seen in the last couple of decades!
I’m pleased that the donor gave us this gift with this designation. The past year those of us serving on the General Council of New Covenant presbytery struggled to define a vision for our presbytery that would lead us to growth in membership and in churches. Like the PCUSA, we received a significant unexpected gift that will enable us to make major progress towards fulfilling that goal.
If this gift mobilizes the faithful members, elders and ministers of the PCUSA to unite behind an effort to plant new churches across the country, then we may see a real peace, unity and purity in the church. I’m sure that we’ll be writing up a grant request from New Covenant Presbytery PDQ as soon as we figure out how to go about it.
Today there was an outstanding op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. “Turn Left at the Presbyterian Church” by Jim Roberts, the chairman of the Committee to End Divestment Now. You have to be a subscriber to the Journal to access this article online, so I am not linking it here. But here is the most cogent observation Mr. Roberts made, in my opinion:
“ The vast majority of Presbyterians long for our church to return to its core purpose: to help nourish a closer relationship with our Savior. Instead, the leadership is forcing many of us to spend countless hours trying to rescue the church from those who hew to terrorist liberation politics.”God willing, this gift will galvanize the church to seize the opportunity to return not only to a prudent path, and to reverse the divestment course, but to unite behind a vision of growth and purpose.
He closes by stating, “ This year, Presbyterian commissioners voting at General Assembly can steer the Presbyterian ship back on a prudent path, which begins with reversing the divestment course charted two years ago."