The Rev. Dr. Karla Ann Koll was our guest preacher June 28th. She has been a PC(USA) mission coworker since 1986, and FPCNH has been supporting her work for about half that time. Currently she teaches at the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana in San José, Costa Rica. Her students come from a number of different Latin American countries, and range from Pentecostal to Roman Catholic in background.
After coffee hour, Karla spoke to a group of about twenty. She began by talking about the current shortfall in Presbyterian World Mission funding, which will result in the termination of eleven mission co-workers by December 31 of this year. Three of them—Paul Matheny, Mary Nebelsick, and Marta Bennett—are currently supported by our church.
Karla detailed a number of reasons for the financial challenges at World Missions. First, a court decision has required the denomination to spend down its endowments for mission. Further, many presbyteries have reduced the percentage of income they allocate to the denomination and its mission agency.
Many churches have ceased to contribute to mission at the denominational level (ours has not), choosing to direct their mission giving to organizations not related to the Presbyterian Church (USA). In fact, almost all mission funding now comes from gifts directed to the support of mission personnel or to specific mission programs.
In recent years, the PC(USA) has asked mission co-workers to engage with churches to encourage support for Presbyterian World Mission. The effort to raise funds is a substantial burden on the time and energy of mission co-workers.
The good news is that congregations are stepping up to the challenge. The amount of money being designated for mission co-worker support has been growing over the last three years, though not at the rate needed to make up for the shortfall in other funding sources.
Karla expressed her deep appreciation to the congregation for their ongoing support for her salary and for Presbyterian World Mission.