RICHMOND, Va. (AP) A shortfall in contributions has forced the Southern Baptist International Mission Board to cut 61 jobs, a week after the Richmond-based agency said it was limiting the number of new missionaries it will send overseas through next year.
The mission board said it notified 37 staff members Tuesday that their jobs are being eliminated. The board said it also plans to cut some positions that are vacant.
Before the cuts, the agency had about 500 jobs.
The decision follows the board's announcement that its main funding source, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, totaled $115 million last year, an increase of 1.3 percent from the previous year but about $10 million below the agency's financial goal. Funding from another source, the Cooperative Program, also was less than the group had hoped.
The board has a $269 million operating budget, but most of the money covers costs overseas.
''The decisions to reduce staff and hold back new missionaries were extremely difficult to make,'' board president Jerry Rankin said in a statement. ''As much as it hurts, we must remain fiscally responsible...''
The International Mission Board has a total of 5,545 missionaries worldwide.
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