Mid Council Financial Network announces virtual conference set for Dec. 14-15
December 3, 2020 by Emily Enders Odom
The Mid Council Financial Network (MCFN) — the only entity that serves the needs of the volunteer and paid staff who work with finances in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 170 presbyteries and 16 synods — is preparing to hold its annual program, virtually, December 14–15, from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time each day. Registration is available here.
Titled “Property Stewardship: 21st Century Mission Challenge,” the two-day continuing education event will feature an opening keynote address by noted author, researcher and pastor, the Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, who will be joined on day two by the Rev. Paul Timothy Roberts Sr., president of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta. Together, Lindner and Roberts will speak to current trends in property sales and the transfer of wealth.
The theme for the 2020 program emerged from research that was commissioned in 2018 by the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Presbyterian Foundation on the sustainability and management of church property. Lindner, who served as the lead researcher and consultant on this project, found that neither the PC(USA) nor any other mainline denomination has historically gathered and analyzed data relative to the number and nature of congregational property sales.
Because increasing numbers of congregations have already been facing financial stress due to a variety of church membership and property-related matters, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, the subject of the conference is especially timely and critical.
“This conference is creating space for an important conversation about our stewardship of property,” said the Rev. Rosemary C. Mitchell, senior director for the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Mission Engagement and Support. “Not only are church buildings the traditional space for the worship of God, but they are also a community asset. As we engage in conversation about both the technical and theological implications of our property decisions, we hope that our guiding scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, will help our attendees to envision ‘a future with hope.’”
Representatives from the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Mission Engagement and Support ministry, the Presbyterian Foundation, the Presbyterian Church (USA) Investment and Loan Program, and mid council leaders from across the country will be on hand both days to respond to presentations, answer participants’ questions and lead devotions. By making such a wealth of experts readily available to presbytery and synod leadership, conference planners seek to demonstrate the expertise, resources and technical services at the national level that are at mid council leaders’ disposal.
“Church property issues are one of the biggest struggles that many mid council organizations have,” said Paul Grier, vice president of Project Regeneration at the Presbyterian Foundation. “But this is also one of the biggest opportunities. We hope to provide resources, assistance and advice that can help mid council organizations handle these gifts from the people of God. We will talk through many of the practical pieces of selling church property as well as the theology of faithful stewardship of resources.”
Since the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Presbyterian Foundation, the conference’s two sponsoring organizations, hope to engage as many mid council leaders as possible around matters of church property within the larger context of faithfulness, there is no cost to attend the virtual conference.
For more information including a complete program schedule, or to register online, visit the Presbyterian Foundation’s website by clicking here.