Annual Meeting Questions

Congregations are in the midst of “annual meeting” season.  Over the years I notice that during that season I have an up tick in the phone calls and emails concerning issues and questions as pastors and clerks prepare for the annual meeting. Then another increase in phone calls and emails following the annual meetings.

Each year the issues and questions change.  This year (so far) the questions have been about the agenda for a Congregational Meeting and the “What is Per Capita and how do I explain it at a congregational meeting?”

An interesting coincidence (or is it?), the monthly Mid-Council newsletter from the office of the General Assembly had several links, statements and stories about Per Capita.

Here are some of the links and stories that might help you explain or understand Per Capita.

  • Interdependence is a key feature of Presbyterianism, and per capita is one of the ways we express our commitment to one another and to our church as a whole.
  • The Presbytery of Salem has produced a narrated presentation enumerating many of the ministries supported by the General Assembly portion of the per capita.
  • From the Presbytery of Lackawanna, a helpful explanation of per capita and share mission giving:
    • “Per capita is an opportunity for all communicant members of the Presbyterian church through the mid councils to participate equally, responsibly, and interdependently by sharing the cost of coordination and evaluation of mission; and of performing ecclesiastical, legislative, and judicial functions that identify a Reformed Church, while at the same time strengthening the sense of community among all Presbyterians.”… Every Presbyterian shares in the benefit of the PCUSA’s system of government, so every Presbyterian is asked to share the expenses associated with coordinating and performing the functions of that system.
  • The Presbytery of Cascades shared the story that a congregation was asked by the session to donate their own per capita amount and to consider including more, for those who were unable. When they raised 97% of their apportionment for last year, a session member was inspired to make up the difference personally.
  • A congregation in our own presbytery, was asked by the session to pay their own per capita amount and also challenged them to also pay for each new confirmand. The congregation was very generous in their giving in thanksgiving for the many confirmands they had that year.

Our own presbytery was featured in the Office of General Assembly Mid-Council for our invitation for church members to partner with the presbytery in hosting necessary church infrastructure.

The Per Capita apportionment covers the work of our Presbytery, the Synod of the Northeast and the Office of General Assembly.

The Month in Per Capita…

Here are a few of the ministries enabled by your per capita giving that have taken place in January and into February

General Assembly

Synod of the Northeast

Presbytery of Newton