World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
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29 January - 6 February 2001
Potsdam, Germany

6 February 2001

WCC plans a comprehensive income development strategy to meet the financial challenges of the years ahead

After "some years of satisfactory results" the World Council of Churches (WCC) is preparing to tackle the financial challenges of the coming years with a comprehensive strategy of income development. According to Bishop Wolfgang Huber, Moderator of the Finance Committee, while the 1999 financial year closed on a "very positive" note with a surplus of 894,000 Swiss francs (CHF), largely because of "outstandingly good investment results", the WCC would probably have to draw on its reserves for the 2000 budget to offset a possible deficit of CHF 751,000.

Bishop Huber stressed the preliminary nature of the results for the year 2000. According to these provisional results, total income amounted to CHF 24,853,000, against total expenditure of CHF 25,604,000. "The Finance Committee noted that the total expenditure was remarkably close to the original budget," Huber said.

The Finance Committee is budgeting for a deficit of CHF 1,500,000 for the year 2001. At the same time, the Committee pointed out that the general reserves will be in the region of CHF 4.7 million at the beginning of 2001. "Whilst to accept a deficit in the budget for 2001 of CHF 1,500,000 is a courageous act, it seems, in the long term view, that the situation is tenable," the Finance Committee insisted. "The World Council of Churches being a community of hope with some good years behind the organization, it is valid to hope for improved revenues in the future, partly from new sources." Nevertheless, two or three difficult years were to be expected

Among the economy measures proposed, the Finance Committee recommended that the Central Committee should continue to meet at 18-month intervals. The meeting in the year 2004 could then be dropped.

The Central Committee also accepted a comprehensive package of measures for income development aimed at stabilizing designated income, increasing membership contributions and undesignated income and opening up new sources of income from trusts and planned giving. Measures mentioned by the Finance Committee included the campaign to increase membership contributions, already under way, stabilizing designated income, identifying new sources of income and raising the profile of the WCC through clear programme objectives.

Photos from the Central Committee

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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.