A quarter of the money raised during this year’s #GivingTuesday on November 28 will support the work of the Office of the General Assembly (OGA), including the huge effort to host the 226th General Assembly next summer in Salt Lake City.
Ruling Elder Kate Trigger Duffert, Director of General Assembly Planning, pointed out some ways GT funds and denominational per capita will make the assembly more accessible to Presbyterians and other attendees from around the world.
Through those funds “commissioners and delegates can attend without worrying about the cost of travel, accommodation or food,” she said. The funds will also offset dependent caregiving costs. In a recent email exchange with a prospective commissioner who has a physical disability requiring caregiver assistance, Trigger Duffert was able to share the good news that “per capita funds will pay for the caregiver to be at the assembly as well.”
A second quarter of the funds raised during Giving Tuesday will go to shared mission projects at the national church level, including Presbyterian Mission Agency initiatives. Half the funds will go to Special Offerings.
Per capita and Giving Tuesday funds are also making it possible for OGA staff and volunteers to develop a schedule for the assembly that will be more sustainable in the long term. “We’ve noticed that business items we’ve had to reconsider later in an assembly are often things we have decided about late at night,” Trigger Duffert said. Developing a schedule with ample time for both business and rest helps interpreters, others who staff the assembly and commissioners and delegates sustain thoughtful discernment. “We need to step back and give ourselves the chance to rest and process,” Trigger Duffert said. Moving at an unhurried pace through business, as well as creating opportunities for fellowship in the spirit of last assembly’s BIPOC space, “allows us to be more flexible and connected to both the needs of our bodies and of the community, so we can look after the whole of ourselves," according to Trigger Duffert.
Trigger Duffert highlighted other OGA-staffed work supported by per capita and this year’s Giving Tuesday funds, including the Stated Clerk Nomination Committee, which is in the process of selecting a Stated Clerk of the General Assembly nominee, the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission and the Presbyterian Historical Society. Judicial hearings and the national archives of the PC(USA) “help Presbyterians look at times when there have been broken relationships and harm that was done and look for ways to repair and rebuild together,” Trigger Duffert said. Since the last assembly, OGA has also supported the work of the Unification Commission and Funding Model Team, groups “that are working together to support mid councils and the national church in a way that is sustainable and honors ministries of each council in their way.”
“Giving to the denomination is one way of saying you’re committed to being a Presbyterian,” Trigger Duffert said, something that is especially important amid the rise of Christian nationalism. “There is value in claiming our identity.”
Supporting per capita, and Giving Tuesday on November 28, are two ways to show your Presbyterian commitment.
Working together under the theme, “We are the Church … together,” a multi-agency #GivingTuesday team has been working on a coordinated campaign to raise funds for the work of the church.
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