Updating Membership List: What is it all about? Per Capita Apportionment explained…
Each year in May and June, Barbara starts work on a new church directory, updating current member information and adding new members, new friends and new babies. At the same time, she removes names of people who have died and identifies people who seem to have become inactive in church life or who have moved away or transferred to other churches.
Is this really necessary? Why can’t member names just stay on the list? The short answer is the new Book of Order of PCUSA requires us to keep rolls of our active members. Also each year PCUSA assesses each church $28 for each active member. This is called the Per Capita Apportionment (see below) If you look at the example below you will see what a financial dilemma it can be for a church that does not review and clean up its active member roll.
In June, 1942, our oldest and longest (69 years) church member, Nellie Keller, now age 103, became member number 52. This April, 2011, our newest and youngest church member, confirmand Jack Wanamaker, age 15, became church member number 2695.
The missing 2295 members grew up and moved away after college or they grew older and moved to warmer climes, or they got transferred, or divorced, or disinterested or died. And over the years, we reviewed the active roll and sent a letter of inquiry and explanation concerning each member’s apparent inactivity, waited for their response (because sometimes we are wrong!) and left them on at their request or removed them from the roll of active members.
We try to be diligent about this process but patient as well. We wait for college age members to complete college before we find out if they are returning to Yorktown or establishing themselves somewhere else. But we also try to protect the financial health of our church — remember the huge difference between an annual apportionment of $74,004 and one of $9,744!
We have a new set of instructions this year from our brand new Book of Order (2011) which says:
The Session may delete names from the roll of the congregation when a member so requests, or has moved or otherwise ceased to participate actively in the work and worship of the congregation for a period of two years. The Session shall seek to restore members to active participation and shall provide written notice before deleting names due to member inactivity.
Session will be considering a list of possibly inactive members at their meeting September 6, letters will go out soon after that and we will collect responses until October 15 and take action before the end of the year.
Per Capita Apportionment explained…..
The Per Capita Apportionment is an individual church’s share of the expense of the ecclesiastical/administrative work of the Presbyterian Church USA at each governing level. In 2011, the charge is $28 for each active member listed on the rolls at the end of the previous year.
This is divided as follows:
$ 6.50 to General Assembly
$ 3.95 to Synod of the Northeast
$17.55 to Presbytery of Hudson River
$28.00 Total per active member
Per Capita is what keeps us Presbyterians. Otherwise we’d be a bunch of independent churches. Per Capita comes with being part of the Presbyterian Family.