Giving to denominational ministries falls behind last year’s totals

We cannot do the work without you

By Traci Rabenstein

“Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take these gifts to those who need them they will break into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help” (2 Corinthians 9:11, TLB).
On behalf of those who will be blessed because of your generosity, we “break into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help.” Your gifts are very important to the Church of the Brethren denominational ministries, missions, and projects, and it is your gifts that allow us to do great things in the United States and internationally.
It is because of the faith of “people of passion” like you that these ministries continue to share the love of God and the peace of Christ. We extend our gratitude to you for your partnership, your generous support, and your prayers. Together, we extend Christ’s mission as we work at serving those near and far, living out the Great Commission of growing disciples, developing and calling leaders, and transforming communities.
We cannot do the work we do without your gifts and offerings. To partner with us in this work you can give online or by mail. Here’s how:
— To give a gift online in support of the denominational ministries of the Church of the Brethren, go to www.brethren.org/give .
— To support the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries through gifts to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) go to www.brethren.org/edf .
— To support the Global Food Initiative find a “give” link at www.brethren.org/gfi .
— Mail a check to: Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin IL 60120.
— Contact staff for Mission Advancement at MA@brethren.org and ask how you may give to the denominational ministries through your an annual IRA distribution, or discuss planned giving options through your estate plan or will.

May we, together, continue the work of Jesus!

— Traci Rabenstein is director of Mission Advancement for the Church of the Brethren.

Giving to Church of the Brethren denominational ministries as of the end of April has fallen short of giving during the first four months of 2019. The shortfall is significant, with total combined giving by congregations and individuals falling behind last year by more than $320,000.

Congregational giving to the denomination for the first four months of 2020 totaled $816,761, falling short of last year’s giving by $220,031. Individual giving to the denominational ministries as of the end of April was $306,961, behind last year’s giving by $103,568.

Three major Church of the Brethren funds receive congregational giving and gifts from individual donors:

Core ministries

The core ministries fund supports many fundamental program areas including Global Mission and Service and several ministries that are lodged within it including international mission, Brethren Volunteer Service, and the Workcamp Ministry; Discipleship Ministries including the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Older Adult Ministries, and Intercultural Ministries, among others; the Office of Ministry and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership; the General Secretary’s office and the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy and Mission Advancement; Brethren Historical Library and Archives and other departments that sustain and serve the program work including finance, IT, buildings and properties, “Messenger” magazine, communications, and more.

Giving to the core ministries is considered crucial in order to continue the denomination’s program. As of April, total combined giving from congregations and individuals to core ministries was $622,117, which is $113,123 behind last year. Congregational giving to core ministries totaled $520,096 for the first four months of 2020, some $144,961 short of the 2020 budget and $93,036 behind giving from this time in 2019. Individual giving to core ministries totaled $102,021 as of April, which was $3,633 ahead of budget but behind last year by $20,087.

Emergency Disaster Fund

The Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) finances Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services and provides grants for disaster relief in the US and around the world.

Giving to the EDF totaled $259,747 as of April, down $111,071 from the $370,818 received at this time in 2019.

Global Food Initiative

The Global Food Initiative (GFI) gives grants both in the US and internationally for hunger relief, agriculture, and community gardens through the “Going to the Garden” program.

GFI donations totaled $36,690, down $12,663 from the $49,353 received at this time last year.

Self-funding ministries

Brethren Press, the Annual Conference Office, and Material Resources (which warehouses and ships disaster relief materials out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.) are “self-funding” ministries that rely on sales, service fees, and registrations to meet their budgets. They also have been negatively affected and lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Brethren Press, curriculum sales are down, and gross sales are under budget by almost $40,000, leaving the Church of the Brethren publishing house with a net deficit of $24,652 as of April.

The Annual Conference Office, following the cancellation of the 2020 Conference, is in the process of refunding registration fees, though some congregations and individuals are choosing to donate their fees. In spite of those donations, there will be a significant deficit this year because of year-round expenses.

Material Resources was not operating for a while during the pandemic and has seen a significant decline in service fee income, resulting in a net deficit of $72,161 as of April.

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