SHOCCO SPRINGS, Ala. (BP)–Southern Baptists contributed a record $49.25 million to North American missions through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering in 2002 — representing a 2 percent increase over the amount contributed the previous year.
North American Mission Board President Robert E. Reccord announced the total during the annual Woman’s Missionary Union executive board meeting, Jan. 11-14 at Shocco Springs Baptist Assembly in Alabama.
The $49,245,244 2002 offering followed total receipts of $48,300,018 in 2001.
“With the drop in income last year from our reserves and FamilyNet television ad sales, it was only the faithfulness of Southern Baptists through the [Annie Armstrong] Offering and the Cooperative Program that kept missions viable in the economic challenges which we still face,” Reccord said.
The volunteer effort of thousands of dedicated pastors, WMU workers and other local church volunteers keep the promotional costs to an astonishing 1 percent of the total amount raised, Reccord reported. Even that amount, however, is paid for by other sources; 100 percent of Annie Armstrong receipts directly support missionaries and their work.
“This is truly a miraculous offering,” Reccord said.
WMU initiated the national offering to support SBC missionaries in the United States in 1895. In 1903, the offering was named in honor of WMU’s founder, Annie Armstrong. More than $920 million has been given since that time.
The 2003 offering will be promoted in most Southern Baptist churches this spring between the March 2-9 Week of Prayer for North American Missions and Easter on April 20. The 2003 national goal is $53 million.
The offering supplies more than 40 percent of the North American Mission Board’s budget. The entity cooperates with state Baptist conventions in supporting 5,204 missionaries in the United States and Canada.
For more information about the North American Mission Board, go to www.namb.net; for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, go to www.anniearmstrong.com. (BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: REACHING NORTH AMERICA and HIGHEST TOTAL YET.