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Celebrates Council's Continuing Fiscal Recovery
October 1, 2003, NEW YORK CITY - Celebration of the National Council of Churches continuing fiscal recovery and a sharpening of organization and focus marked the fall meeting of the Councils Executive Board here Sept. 29-30.
The Board received the audited financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2003, which show not only a balanced operating budget for the second year in a row, but also a more than $7 million increase in the Councils long-term reserves. The financial turnaround was achieved not only through cuts in staff and expenditures but also through greater program focus, NCC leaders said.
In 2002-2003, the Councils work for peaceful solutions to the Iraq crisis attracted grants from several foundations and individual donors - including an anonymous individuals donation of stock whose sale netted the NCC just over $7 million. Work in such areas as environmental justice, globalization and biotechnology also attracted grants.
In contrast, the Councils finances in the 1980s and 1990s were marked by slow attrition of staff and program and a drawing down of long-term reserves from $24 million to about $2.5 million in order to compensate for deficit program spending.
The NCCs audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003, showed total income of $12,474,125 and total operating expenditures of $5,664,651. The surplus increased the Councils total assets from $6,309,200 as of June 30, 2002, to $12,651,535 as of June 30, 2003.
"The NCCs salvage quadrennium is over," said National Council of Churches General Secretary Bob Edgar, who along with the Councils officers has led the financial recovery over the past four years. "Financially, we are healthy and we are beginning a new phase."
The new phase includes focusing the Councils work through five "commissions" - Faith and Order, Education and Leadership Ministries, Interfaith Relations, Communication and a new Advocacy and Justice Commission, to be constituted at the Councils November 2003 annual General Assembly. Relating to all of the commissions are the Office of the General Secretary along with offices for International Affairs and Peace, Research and Planning, Development, and Administration and Finance.
Also at the Sept. 29-30 meeting, two key staff positions were filled by the Executive Board:
In addition, it was announced that the Rev. Dr. Paul H. Sherry, former President of the United Church of Christ, has agreed to donate a year of his retirement to lead the NCCs Mobilization to Overcome Poverty.
"This is a wonderful opportunity," commented the NCCs President, Elenie Huszagh. "Those of us who know Paul are delighted at his offer of service."
The NCC Executive Board also approved changes in the Councils Constitution, Bylaws and Standing Rules to bring them in line with the reorganization in the Councils program structure, and forwarded the revised documents to the NCCs November 2003 General Assembly for action.
Further, the Board commended a proposed new policy - "The Church and Children: Visions and Goals for the 21st Century" - to the November Assembly for "first reading." And the Board forwarded for the Assemblys action:
The Executive Board meets quarterly to attend to NCC business between annual meetings of the Councils 280-member General Assembly, which next meets Nov. 4-6 in Jackson, Miss. Both the Board and Assembly are composed of official delegates from the NCCs 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member churches. Those churches comprise 50 million adherents in 140,000 local congregations across the nation.
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