The Quarterly Newsletter of
First United Presbyterian Church
What’s the Big Deal about Per Capita?
We’ve all heard the call, “Please pay your Per Capita.” It feels like one more bill, and in our faith life, we tend to resist such financial demands. But what is Per Capita? Why is it important? Why might we want to rethink our attitude about this once a year payment that keeps our denomination up and running? To begin with our Per Capita payment—this year it is $38.03 per member—is a fee that allows all the members of the Presbyterian Church USA to share in the expense of offering our faith and God’s healing to our world. It attempts to assist from the local church that serves our communities, all the way to global issues that do harm to our planet and to hurting people. The Presbyterian Church is divided into four levels—the local congregation, Presbytery which is a geographic collection of congregations, Synod, a geographic collection of Presbyteries, and General Assembly the national level of our church. The local congregation is the only place where members gather, so that is the body that sends funds up the chain to allow these other levels of church government to function. Presbytery, Synod and GA each have a piece of that $38.03, and with some minor exceptions this is the means by which the upper bodies buy paper clips, printer ink, stamps and phone service. It allows the hiring of needed employees, and provides funds to assist in many ways. Here are just a few of the ways that your Per Capita dollars are being used.
At the Presbytery of East Iowa
At the Presbytery of East Iowa
- Churches in transition are assisted in the process of calling a new pastor, and that new pastor is vetted to make sure there are not issues that will negatively impact the congregation.
- · Grants are offered to local churches for Mission and Social Justice Programs, Anti-racism work, Technology needs, and to send local youth on Mission Trips.
- · Pastoral Care is provided for Pastors and their families—remember these leaders don’t have a pastor! Retreats are offered.
- · Special Workshops are offered to train pastors on issues of Congregational Development, Technology Education, Stewardship Issues and Youth Ministry.
- · Guidance and Financial Assistance is offered to those who seek to become pastors or Lay Pastors.
- A Stated Clerk is available to assist congregations and leaders with questions, conflicts, and other matters.
- · Leadership training is offered to strengthen churches.
- Resources are made available for things like Special Bible Studies, Youth Group
- Development, Revitalizing worship committees work to assist. Presbytery even provides a video worship that could be used on the Sunday following Christmas when many pastors take vacation!
- · The Synod’s work is to provide resources and assistance to both Presbyteries and the local congregation to build a stronger church. Workshops, Educational Events, Retreats are regularly offered.
- · Grants that support Presbytery work are offered.
- Training and support for new pastors is provided