Presbyterian World Mission adopts new funding system to support mission co-workers

The Rev. Dori Kay Hjalmarson

(PNS) — As the new year gets underway, the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) is implementing a timely and important change to its funding system in support of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s mission co-workers in 80 countries across the globe.

Effective immediately — as a tangible way of expressing that the whole church both sends and supports all of its mission co-workers — the PMA now invites the whole church to use one fund, General Sending and Support, E132192, rather than a host of individual accounts, to demonstrate this shared commitment.

“When mission co-workers are commissioned at our biennial General Assembly, every Presbyterian joins in affirming that they represent the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) wherever they are called to serve,” said the Rev. Rosemary C. Mitchell, senior director, Mission Engagement and Support. “And as they go forth from the assembly with our prayers, they and their families are secure in the knowledge that they will be wholly supported by our national staff in Louisville, who are charged with ensuring their well-being, safety and security.”

Yet even as the PMA moves to this new system, mission co-workers and members of the national staff alike are keenly aware that many Presbyterians already have a special, close relationship with a specific mission co-worker.

To honor the spirit of the previous practice in which donors could designate their gifts to a fund for a particular mission co-worker, any individual, congregation, mid council or group who currently enjoys a relationship with a specific mission co-worker is now encouraged to make their gifts to the one fund “in honor of” [name of person(s)]. The mission co-worker(s) will then be notified of the gift and will gratefully acknowledge it just as they have in the past.

Most importantly, they will continue to interpret their ministry to their many supporters through letters, social media, personal visits and other communications channels. The move to one fund will give them more freedom to build and to nurture those relationships as they serve Christ’s church.

The Rev. Rosemary C. Mitchell

“One of the greatest benefits of having one fund in support of all of the PC(USA)’s mission co-workers is that it will at long last remove the burden of personal fundraising from each mission co-worker,” said Mitchell.

The move to one fund was welcome news for the Rev. Dori Kay Hjalmarson, a PC(USA) mission co-worker in Honduras since 2017.

“I am grateful for a move to a single fund of sending and support for World Mission personnel,” said Hjalmarson, who works alongside the Misión Evangélica Presbiteriana de Honduras. “When I was discerning a call to mission work, one of the ‘cons’ in my pro-con list was the perception that I would be responsible for raising funds to pay my own salary. I am a pastor, teacher and chaplain, not a fundraiser. I believe the move to one fund will foster a spirit of collegiality and shared vision among myself and my colleagues, and it will allow us more fully to serve the Spirit’s movement with our local partners.”

Sara Lisherness, who serves as interim director for World Mission while continuing as director for Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries, joins with Mitchell in acknowledging the importance of the PC(USA)’s many faithful donors.

“It is the singular generosity of individual Presbyterians that makes the gift of our mission co-workers’ service possible, ensuring that the church keeps its vision focused and its members’ hearts filled with hope generation after generation,” said Lisherness.

Sara Lisherness

Mitchell hopes that the new funding system will not only simplify the act of giving but will also serve to unify Presbyterians in their support the PC(USA)’s mission co-workers.

“Thank you for your support of Presbyterian Mission,” she said. “We are grateful for your faithfulness, your commitment and your generosity.”

Join others to support the PC(USA) mission co-workers who are currently serving in 80 countries across the globe. The easiest way to make your gift is through your home congregation. If you have any questions, please click here to locate and contact the mission engagement advisor assigned to your region.

by Emily Enders Odom, Mission Engagement & Support, Special to Presbyterian News Service