What Is Per Capita?

Per Capita

The Westminster Confession of Faith says, “all believers are, therefore, under obligation to sustain the ordinances of the Christian religion where they are already established, and to contribute by their prayers, gifts, and personal efforts to the extension of the Kingdom of Christ throughout the whole earth” (The Book of Confessions, 6.058).

Per capita is a fundamental way in which all of the nearly 11,000 congregations and mid councils of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are connected and participate in the work of the wider church.

Because it is rooted in the connectional and covenantal nature of the Presbyterian church, as affirmed by the ordination vows taken by elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament, per capita could be called the Presbyterian Covenant Community Fund.

Importance of per capita funding, Why is per capita important?

Per capita brings Presbyterians together — literally!

Presbyterians are connected in many ways, including our church government. We believe we discern best what God is calling us to do when we gather as mid councils, “seek[ing] together to find and represent the will of Christ” (Book of Order F-3.0204). Per capita dollars pay for the costs of holding a General Assembly — including paying for the travel, room and board of commissioners and advisory delegates, several of whom would not be able to afford these expenses on their own.

Per capita makes it possible for Presbyterians to govern ourselves the way we do.

Presbyterians have a form of government built upon shared power and mutual accountability as we seek together to find and represent the will of Christ. By providing the primary means through which commissioners and advisory delegates can gather to do their work, per capita dollars help to undergird our governance system.

Our Constitution provides a moral and theological compass that builds community and calls us to Christian faithfulness in gratitude to God.

Per capita makes possible our effort for visible unity of the church of Jesus Christ.

The PC(USA), as with other faith traditions and denominations, is but a small part of the one church of Jesus Christ. We affirm that God’s call is for the church to be one.

Per capita makes it possible for us to maintain our historical awareness.

Our historical heritage helps us make informed decisions for the future. The Presbyterian Historical Society is our national archives and historical research center. It collects, preserves, and shares the history of the American Presbyterian and Reformed tradition.