April 21, 2009 News

General Secretaries' Letter

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church

The Committee on Christian Education
The Committee on Foreign Missions
The Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension

April 14, 2009

To the Sessions, Congregations, and Ministers of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Dear Friends and Brothers:

Greetings in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ in whom are found all true riches in heaven and on earth. We rejoice with our King who is the Head of his Church that so much has been accomplished through the Worldwide Outreach committees of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church over the past year. In 2008 twenty new churches were planted, fourteen year-long pastoral interns were trained for ministry in OP congregations, and a new foreign mission field was opened in Uruguay and a missionary doctor was provided for Karamoja in Uganda.

As we have traveled throughout the churches in the past several months, it has become apparent that Worldwide Outreach is not alone as it deals with these tough economic times. Many of you are struggling to meet your financial obligations and commitments; some of you are struggling to pay your pastor. We believe that your local financial responsibilities must be fulfilled first—making sure that your pastor is well cared for and your bills are paid.

But we are also aware that some of our congregations have been providentially blessed of God in spite of these hard economic times and are able and desiring to help. To those congregations of the OPC which find themselves in such abundant circumstances, we plead with you to consider making provision for special giving to Worldwide Outreach during 2009 and 2010, even as other OP congregations are finding it difficult to make ends meet. So we address the following especially to you.

Though the number of churches and individuals giving to the work of Home and Foreign Missions and Christian Education through Worldwide Outreach in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is at an all-time high, the total amount of WWO giving has decreased from previous years. And at the same time, the reserves of the three committees (received from bequests and other special giving) which each of them have used to supplement giving shortfalls, have become so depleted that they may no longer be counted on for those purposes. Here are some of the ways this economic downturn and the corresponding shortfall in giving to Worldwide Outreach are affecting the great commission ministries of the whole church.

  • In Home Missions, though nine new mission works are already being assisted with the calling of organizing pastors this year, it has been necessary for the Committee to place a moratorium on granting support for additional works through the end of 2009.
  • In Foreign Missions, though our work in Suriname will be closed by year's end, the Committee may still be faced with the prospect of not being able to send a new missionary to join the Falks in Uruguay until 2011, even though promising candidates might be otherwise ready to go in a few months.
  • In Christian Education, funding for 2009-2010 internships has been greatly reduced and promising candidates may have to be turned away, and the MTI Fall Semester, Presbyterian Summer Institute, Candidates and Credentials Conference all have been canceled.

Please take these matters to the Lord in prayer, asking him to provide all that is truly needed to carry on the work he has given us to do. And please share this information with your congregation.

The resources of our great Lord of the Harvest are more than sufficient to cover our shortfall. So we recognize that it is by his good providence that we find ourselves in these circumstances now. We humbly trust that he will bring us through this current period of financial challenge with all his needful lessons learned and that within a short time we will be ministering with his increased supply for our work. May he continue to bless your labors for his own glory and the increase of his kingdom.

Sincerely in Christ,

Danny E. Olinger
General Secretary
The Committee on Christian Education

Mark T. Bube
General Secretary
The Committee on Foreign Missions

Ross W. Graham
General Secretary
The Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension



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