JEFFERSONVILLE, Indiana — An Indiana judge signed an order recently that frees up funds at the Presbyterian Foundation to support the 1001 New Worshiping Communities program at the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
The Foundation, Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program and the Presbyterian Mission Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2021 to help guide the process of modifying 12 funds to support 1001 New Worshipping Communities, which required a court order. An Indiana judge signed the order in March; the Foundation is located in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
“We are thankful that this process is complete, and excited to provide these funds for the 1001 congregations and new worshipping communities,” says Tom Taylor, President and CEO of the Presbyterian Foundation. “We know this will support these emerging ministries and allow them to continue and thrive. This is such a crucial work and so important not only in the PC(USA), but in the larger body of Christ.”
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation, ILP, and PMA stipulates that the funds distributed in support of 1001 New Worshiping Communities consist of two components: first, continued distributions of approximately $1 million from board-designated PMA funds held by the Foundation or its constituent corporations; and second, annual distributions of approximately $5 million from church loan funds.
The church loan funds will remain titled to the Foundation, and the principal of the funds will remain intact. Church loan fund principal not designated to support the 1001 New Worshiping Communities program will be more than sufficient for ILP to provide church loans that are consistent with the current use of those funds, according to ILP.
The funds remain with the Foundation, but a portion of the funds will be paid out to the Presbyterian Mission Agency each year in accordance with the Foundation’s spending formula.
“This is important work and a perfect example of what we can accomplish as we work together,” said the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Enabling gifts from faithful Presbyterians to make new disciples and form communities of worship and witness is God’s work in the world.”
About cy pres
The Foundation filed the legal actions as part of a cy pres process. A cy pres action seeks approval from a court or other government authority to use the funds for purposes that are “as near as possible” to original intent of the donor. Cy pres actions are used by organizations that hold funds when the purposes of the funds become impossible, impractical, illegal or wasteful to enforce.
The church loan funds were originally intended to help create new buildings for churches and ministries in the PC(USA).
As demand for funds to build new churches has waned, disbursements from the funds have decreased. In the meantime, the funds have continued to grow. The 1001 New Worshiping Communities program is developed in the same spirit as the intention of the church loan funds — to grow the church and share the good news of the gospel with more people.
“Being able to use these funds given by generous Presbyterians over the past 100 or more years to help build the church in today’s world is a true honor to the donors,” said Jim Rissler, President and CEO of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program.
by Robyn Davis Sekula, Presbyterian Foundation, Special to Presbyterian News Service