According to several reports, benevolence money from Mission to the World (MTW), the world missions arm of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), was used to purchase tickets for Broadway shows. The expenditure came during the LEAD conference, held in October 1999 in New York City.
Participants in this conference included MTW team leaders and regional leaders from around the world, as well as MTW senior staff from Atlanta. Approximately 60 to 80 people participated in the event, including the Rev. Dr. Paul Kooistra, Coordinator of MTW.
According to reports, about $5,000 was spent on the Broadway tickets. Participants could choose from one of several plays, including "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Les Miserables." Those attending the conference were informed that if they did not specify a choice, a play would be selected on their behalf.
The money did not come from the missionaries' work budgets. Rather, it was apparently part of the fund which had been raised for leadership training.
Besides the trip to Broadway, those attending the conference were treated to a boat ride around New York harbor. The dinner cruise included loud music from live entertainers on board the vessel. According to at least some participants, the loudness of the music prevented meaningful discussion to occur.
MTW administrators refused to respond to repeated
requests for information regarding the expenditures for the October
The administration of Mission to the World (MTW) has so far refused to answer questions which were posed to them.
Mr. Bruce Terrill is the person in charge of the LEAD Conference, and P&R News was referred to him. However, after he did not return a phone call, Joan Tarleton, Administrative Assistant to MTW Coordinator Paul Kooistra, indicated that Dr. Kooistra would return the phone call. As of press deadline, he had not done so.
Besides trying to contact Dr. Kooistra telephonically,
P&R News also emailed to him a list of questions, to
which he has also not responded. The questions which he has declined
to answer are as follows:
1. How many people attended the LEAD Conference?
2. How many of them were staff from Atlanta?
3. How much did the conference cost?
4. How much of the money was spent on entertainment?
5. Where did the money come from?
6. Did MTW inform the donor(s) to the fund from which
the conference was paid, that at least $5,000 was spent on entertainment?
7. How is this expenditure for entertainment going
to be recorded on the books of MTW?
8. When and where else has this leadership training
9. Has this sort of entertainment been done in the
10. Does MTW plan on having this type of entertainment
in the future?