Funding Dispersal Questioned For Kitui Help

An issue has been brought to KDWA on behalf of some parishoners of St Elizabeth Anne Seton Church of Hastings. According to the churchmembers , the issue involves dispersal of monies that were collected for a relief mission that was brought to that congregation nearly 7 years ago. The village of Kitui, which is located 112 miles west of Nairobi in Kenya, was deemed a sister church for SEAS and with that relationship spiritual, financial and even personal connections were made over the years. Visits between the dioceses of these parishes have been documented including at least one from the former pastor of the Hastings congregation , Father Jim Pirkl. Possessing a gift for art, Father Pirkl also created icons representing sacred images that were sold to raise funds to help the African parish. The connection began in 2004 and continued until Father Pirkl left SEAS in early 2014. At least one campaign financial donations involved SEAS parishoners that was represented to have been sent to the village for faith formation and other needs. Following the departure of Father Pirkl, questions were asked of current administration, including Father David Hennen and the financial administration team about monies that appear on the balance sheet as recently as April, 2017. The parishoners relayed that a balance of nearly 14,000 still remains in what is termed a restricted account, defined as collected for use on one singular purpose as compared to part of a general fund. During the fundraising, it has been estimated that as many as 100 individuals made contributions that were to have been sent to the village. To that end, KDWA contacted Parish Administrator Jeff Hunter who explained the current status of the funding arrangement. Part of the confusion, he believes, involves more than one fund designated to help Kitui, with very different stipulations on their management. He also conveyed that the creation of the separate “Contemplation in Action” account was done to assure the continuing creation of devotional art on both sides of the Partnership. When this account was set up, the original principal was to preserve the principal, to assure the continuation of this initiative. He provided a statement on October 12th, however, that the change in pastors more than three years ago resulted in the cultural exchange agreement to cease. Hunter also allowed that an unnamed parishioner liasion is currently in place who knows the needs of the congregation in Kitui and will be deciding how and when to disperse the balance. The timeline for that dispersal is not yet known.

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