BIRMINGHAM — The General Assembly has set a per capita rate of $5.79 cents per active member for 2007 and the same rate for 2008.
That reflects an increase of seven cents per member over what had been projected coming into the assembly — and takes into accounts new spending this assembly has authorized.
On its final morning, the 217th General Assembly also heard some bad news regarding the continuing shrinking of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Membership is expected to be 2,296,856 for 2006 (a projected drop of 65,000 members) and 2,211,856 for 2007 (a projected decline of 85,000 members). Those anticipated losses would trump in scale the actual loss of 48,474 members in 2005 — which was the largest drop in membership the PC(USA) has experienced in 30 years.
But the per capita budget is increasing. The assembly set it at $12.6 million for 2007 and $15 million for 2008.
Chandler Willis, a minister from South Louisiana presbytery, questioned whether the budget can continue to go up as the number of members falls off.
“In the secular world,” Willis said, “that’s called bankruptcy.”