Council of Churches in black for second year

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) The National Council of Churches, which faced severe financial problems over the last two decades, announced it has balanced its operating budget for the second year in a row.

According to audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, the organization's long-term reserve increased by about $7 million, the council's executive board said Oct. 1.

The council had total income of nearly $12.5 million for the fiscal year and total operating expenditures of about $5.7 million.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the council drew down its long-term reserves from $24 million to about $2.5 million and trimmed its staff positions to compensate for deficit program spending.

''Financially, we are healthy and we are beginning a new phase,'' said Bob Edgar, the organization's general secretary.

The council said its work for peaceful solutions to the Iraq crisis drew grants from several foundations and individual donors, including an anonymous stock gift whose sale brought more than $7 million.

The organization said it also received grants for its work on environmental justice, globalization and biotechnology.

The National Council of Churches is an association of 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations, with 140,000 congregations nationwide. The council's programs include Christian education, economic and environmental justice efforts and interfaith dialogues.

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