PC(USA) proposed raising per-capita money to make up for lost members.
The PC(USA) proposed raising per-capita money to make up for lost members. (Flickr/Creative Commons)

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The Presbyterian Church USA needs money to sustain member losses after their endorsement of same-sex marriage. Already, the denomination is on track to lose 75,000 members each year through 2020. 

According to The Layman, the PC(USA) General Assembly recommended increasing the per-capita rate by 3 percent. The per-capita is the amount of money per member congregations are asked to pay the presbytery, synod and General Assembly.

Per capita dollars pay for the costs of holding a General Assembly—including paying for the travel, room and board of commissioners and advisory delegates, several of whom would not be able to afford these expenses on their own, according to the Office of the General Assembly.  

Since fully embracing same-sex marriage, the PC(USA) experienced rapid downfall, with thousands of churches breaking ties with the denomination. 

"Membership statistics and church numbers tell one story, but it's not the entire message of how the PC(USA) is impacting the world," said the Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA). "God continues to breathe new life into our work and challenges us to find new, creative ways to touch and transform lives." 

Despite his stance, membership continues to drop. Total membership at the end of 2014 was 1,667,767, compared to 1,760,200 at the end of 2013 and 1,849,496 at the end of 2012, according to a release. 

The projected membership losses of 75,000 per year through the next four years are more than both 2013 and 2014. 

"Even with a 3 percent reduction of expenses and a 3 percent raise in per capita, year-over-year losses of more than 90,000 members per year is institutionally unsustainable," says Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee. "To put it into perspective, that's the equivalent of closing an average of 1,000 PC(USA) churches a year."

Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.

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