Time for some sweet, sweet schadenfreude: By good news about the NCC I mean bad news for them: NCC Nears Financial Collapse?
The once influential National Council of Churches (NCC) may again be approaching possible financial collapse.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop told the NCC’s September board meeting: “We have 18 months sustainability.” All voting NCC board members were scrambling for “immediate sustainability,” mostly behind closed doors as they discussed the NCC’s audit and budget. Further highlighting the crisis was an interruption of the meeting by placard waving union employees distressed over benefit cuts to NCC staffers.
That is great: Union employees — which the NCC no doubt supports — are interrupting them when they are trying to survive. Maybe the NCC will realize that the unions would rather the NCC fold than cut benefits to union employees, and that the union demands are part of the reason they are failing. No, they probably won’t get it.
. . .
NCC member denominations, many of them losing members, like the United Methodists and Presbyterian Church (USA), continue to reduce their contributions. For instance, the UMC reduced from giving $543,265 last year to offering $ 442,404 this year. Some members like the Greek Orthodox Church and historic black denominations continue to give nothing or token amounts. The Orthodox Church in America, for example, contributed a mere $1,000 to the ECF Fund. Now, private donors are reducing contributions too.
Maybe it will occur to them that if their donors are having to make big cuts that perhaps they also don’t have more money to pay in taxes. No, they probably won’t get that, either. They’ll keep pushing Caesar to confiscate money from neighbor A to “give” to neighbor B.
. . . Trimming staff is proving to be one of the most painful experiences for the ecumenical movement.
Welcome to the real world, folks! Businesses make tough decisions like that all the time.
Eventually, some important information rose to the surface as NCC President Rev. Peg Chemberlin and Women’s Ministry director Rev. Ann Tiemeyer both mentioned losing a million-dollar donor. Since last year’s budget was around $4 million, this cut is quite significant. Even the Aetna Corporation’s starter grant of $25,000 offered little encouragement.
Yes, even though the NCC is mainly politics disguised as religion so that false teachers like Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie can quote them as authorities, they get contributions from non-religious groups as well. The NCC hides that information, of course. That reminds me of how deceptive Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis was in denying the large contributions to Sojourner made by atheist George Soros. Why do these atheists care to prop up these leftist “religious” organizations?
At one point, the board broke up into small table groups to propose solutions to these besetting toils. One table, headed up by Bishop Mark Hanson and United Methodism’s Betty Gamble, even recommended the NCC take a “jubilee.” Under this plan, the NCC would withdraw from public activities and focus on fundraising. Many delegates pointed out that such a recess would negate any reasons for donors to contribute.
Please stop and meditate on that. These leaders, who probably have zero business experience, thought they should stop fulfilling their charter so they can spend a year asking for more money?! Can you imagine a business doing that? “Dear customer: I’ve run my organization into the ground, so please send me money for a year while I stop providing goods and services to you.”
Accentuating the tension was an interruption by the NCC staffers’ union, the Association of Ecumenical Employees, which marched into the board meeting waving placards. Ironically, the pro-union NCC has been trying to reduce retirees’ health benefits with its own union. It seems that contract negotiations have lasted nearly eight months, prompting distressed unionists to conduct their silent interruption, after which they quietly marched out.
I love it.
Amid the troubled finances, both Kinnamon and Hanson advocated the NCC rediscover its theological identity. As NCC President-elect Kathryn Lohre suggested, “It would be wise to see if we’re going through some kind of purification for the greater good.” But there were no talks about sin and salvation. Instead, most voices emphasized traditional NCC liberal political themes. Staffer Jordan Blevins, for instance, led a peace litany that read, “We pray our children pursue peace-vocations.” Also, a Children’s Defense Fund’s representative met agreement when she urged members to “make sure the rich and powerful contribute their fair share.”
It wouldn’t be an NCC meeting without a healthy dose of coveting and zero mention of sin and salvation!
In similar turn, female board members touted feminist activism while minority voices emphasized affirmative action.
Feminist activism = the right to destroy innocent yet unwanted human beings. And this group claims to be Christian.
Kinnamon and Hanson want the NCC to focus on poverty issues (i.e. mostly touting government programs) for the moment. Hanson observed; “You can talk abstractly about ecumenism or you can join with those causes that are furthering the kingdom of God now” like Sojourners and the “Circle of Protection” protest against government welfare and entitlement spending limits. Kinnamon went on to say that the “Circle” is “not a matter on which we can be divided or silent.” At the conclusion of the frayed and frustrated gathering, a Quaker representative exclaimed: “Some new thing was trying to birth among us today…the new fire is not just for the young people. It’s among us and it just needs to be captured.”
They oppose corporate welfare? Like what Obama gives GM, GE, Solyndra and so many others as political paybacks?
As senior NCC officials try to rally around traditional liberal political causes, many traditional Christians may ask what is so unique about such stances. If only offering a narrow set of political and economic policies, the NCC is merely slapping religious terms on liberal initiatives. Would the NCC’s removal from America’s religious landscape have any major consequence?
Short answer: No.