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OPINION

CP finishes up for year: 'a cause for joy,' Page says

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- The Cooperative Program allocation budget ended its fiscal year with its first increase since 2007, a moment that Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President and CEO Frank Page said was a "cause for joy" in light of economic hard times.
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The Cooperative Program allocation budget finished its Oct. 1-Sept. 30 fiscal year with receipts up 0.06 percent and combined CP and designated giving for the year up 0.17 percent, although total receipts were 3.98 percent below budget, according to Page.

The total includes receipts from state conventions and fellowships, churches and individuals for distribution according to the 2010-11 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.

The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists' method of supporting missions and ministries of state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Page applauded the increase in light of 2010's large decrease in receipts and the badly depressed economic conditions churches are facing. The CP allocation budget was down 4 percent last year.

A total of $191,878,645.16 in CP gifts was received by the Southern Baptist Convention during the fiscal year from Oct. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2011 -- up by $115,492.29 (0.06 percent) from the previous fiscal year's $191,763,152.87.

During the 2010-11 fiscal year, an additional $191,878,065.75 in designated gifts brought the fiscal year's overall giving for national and international missions and ministry to spread the Gospel to $383,756,710.91, or 0.17 percent above the previous year's $383,087,678.95 combined figure.

"While this is a slight increase of $115,492.29," Page said of the yearly CP allocation budget total, "when placed in the context of last year's $8 million decline in the SBC portion of the CP, it is an encouragement and a cause for joy. We know that our nation continues to struggle in what one friend of mine called 'this generation's Great Depression.'

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"Given the tremendous economic trials so many of our people face, I want to say a special thank you to the many faithful Christ-followers who have given so faithfully to the Lord's work," Page added. "I also want to say thank you to the many pastors who are leading their churches to significantly turn around their Cooperative Program giving. I am traveling throughout this convention, thanking people and encouraging them as much as I possibly can. I am so grateful that many are having a renewed commitment to and understanding of the good work that is happening through the Cooperative Program. Many state conventions are working hard to maximize every dollar and to increase contributions to national ministries. Please continue to encourage our state conventions in the good work they are doing.

"I stood at the convention this year in Phoenix, Ariz., and stated several principles by which we will operate. One of those is celebration and encouragement. I just simply want to say thank you to Southern Baptists today for the encouragement you have given to the work of Southern Baptist missions and ministries by your faithful giving. May God bless you all!"

For the month of September, CP receipts totaled $17,403,090.27. Designated year-end giving of $191,878,065.75 was $553,539.67, or 0.29 percent above gifts of $191,324,526.08 for the previous fiscal year. A total of $5,560,064.86 in designated gifts was received in September, up $1,543,927.78 (38.44 percent) over the previous month's $4,016,137.08.

For the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, the year-end total of $191,878,645.16 was $7,943,445.02 (or 3.98 percent) below the $199,822,090.18 budgeted to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America.

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The total includes receipts from individuals, churches, state conventions and fellowships for distribution according to the 2010-11 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.

Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund and other special gifts.

State and regional conventions retain a portion of church contributions to the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to Southern Baptist national and international causes. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of each state or regional convention.

Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor and senior writer Mark Kelly.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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