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Budget cuts shrink outreach

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The U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches is cutting its budget by $200,000 as leaders grapple with lower church contributions and fundraising expectations.

The U.S. conference leadership board met May 1–3 in Bakersfield, Cal., and decided to shrink the denomination’s church planting and publishing efforts.

In March, conference staff combed through the budget and determined that a 48 percent reduction to Christian Leader publishing and a 60 percent cut to the Mission USA program budget were the best options.

The U.S. conference had frozen spending from March to May in an effort to end the fiscal year in the black.

“We’re facing a challenge in the fact that more than half of our churches are not participating with us financially in our national ministries,” said Ed Boschman, executive director of the U.S. conference. “We’re concerned about that, and we’re trying to address it.”

The 2009–10 budget is built on church contributions of $414,800, the lowest church-giving budget since 2003. Additional fundraising by staff is budgeted at $200,000, a 30 percent reduction over the 2008–09 fundraising goal. The leadership board approved a 2009–10 budget of $707,150. It includes a 15 percent reduction in administrative expenses.

—from Connie Faber, Christian Leader and Celeste Kennel-Shank, Mennonite Weekly Review

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