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Camps and Conference Centers

Arguing with God

Following the compelling study of the Cain and Abel story she delivered Tuesday to the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, Dr. Suzie Park, who teaches the Hebrew Bible at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, turned to another of the faith heroes held up in Hebrews 11 — Abraham, who, according to the Genesis account, was willing to sacrifice his only son, Isaac — during a Thursday broadcast to the 800 or so people registered for PAM’s online Worship & Music Conference, celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary.

A God who picks favorites?

Whoever wrote the book of Hebrews — especially the 11th chapter, which the Presbyterian Association of Musicians is studying this week as part of its online 50th anniversary celebration — wasn’t a very careful reader of the biblical account of humankind’s first murder, told in Genesis 4: 1-10.

‘Where are you?’

The Rev. Jessica Tate, director of NEXT Church and a worship leader for the 2020 Presbyterian Association of Musicians Worship & Music Conference, told a telling story about life during COVID-19 with 2-year-old son, Huw, during opening worship Sunday. As PAM turns 50, it’s holding its golden year celebration online , with live broadcasts originating from Montreat Conference Center.

Camps and conferences stay positive during pandemic

Like most organizations, PC(USA)-affiliated camp and retreat centers were blindsided by the recent COVID-19 pandemic that has swept through the country and world over the past several months. Stay-at-home and social distancing orders struck the very heart and infrastructure of summer camp and retreat resident ministries. But amidst it all, associate for Christian Formation Brian Frick — who has oversight of PC(USA)-affiliated camps and retreats — sees positive outcomes for 2020 that hopefully carry over into 2021.

Virtual camp that’s real fun

Five weeks ago, Joel Winchip, executive director of Presbyterian Church Camp & Conference Association (PCCCA), wasn’t sure what camps would be able to do about offering summer programming.

PAM Worship and Music Conference goes the virtual route

After many hours of conversation and lots of prayer, Presbyterian Association of Musicians has decided to move its annual conference that was to have been held at Montreat Conference Center during the last two weeks of June to a virtual conference June 21-26.

Presbyterian Mission Agency Board will meet virtually Wednesday through Friday

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board will meet via Zoom Wednesday though Friday. The agenda, available here, includes a 2021-22 budget presentation and discussion, a presentation on the coronavirus and its implications for ministry, and a feasibility study report on fundraising for Stony Point Center, which was being studied for a $10.3 million capital improvement campaign. Wednesday’s Zoom call runs from 1:30 p.m. through 5 p.m., with a closed session scheduled from 3:45 p.m. through the 5 p.m. recess. The Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, the PMA’s president and executive director, will make a budget presentation beginning at 2:20. Board members will have time to respond to her presentation before entering into closed session. On Thursday, the board’s administrative committees (Personnel & Nominating and Resource Allocation & Stewardship) will meet separately at 10 a.m., with the board’s three program committees (Mid Councils, Nurture the Body and Outreach to the World) meeting separately at 11:30 a.m. The board meets in a plenary session beginning at 2 p.m., with the coronavirus presentation set to begin at 2:15 p.m. Thursday’s recess is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. No closed session is scheduled for that day. On Friday, the board will consider committee reports beginning at 10:20 a.m. The Stony Point Feasibility Study Report is scheduled for 11 a.m., with prayer and then adjournment scheduled for noon. 2021-22 budget The proposed unified budget — per capita, mission and Administrative Services Group — is about $90.5 million for 2021 and about $92.6 million for 2022. Those budget figures must be approved by the 224th General Assembly, which is scheduled to meet June 20-27 but could well occur during a June videoconference owing to the pandemic. The proposed budgets are based on a pending apportionment rate of $9.99 in 2021 and $10.50 in 2022, reflecting a membership reduction of 4.5% year-over-year. The budgets can be viewed independently, according to the report by the board’s Resource Allocation & Stewardship Committee, “but the underlying numbers and assumptions show the support and connectivity of each budget.” Under the budget proposal, all new unexpected, unrestricted gifts or bequests of more than $50,000 received by the A Corporation will be shared according to a cost allocation formula of 20% to OGA and 80% to PMA. Investment revenue makes up 21% of the revenue budgets for each year of the two-year budget cycle. Other income, such as income from the sale of offering envelopes and sales generated from everything including copies of Presbyterians Today and the Presbyterian Planning Calendar, are forecast to generate 18% of the 2021 revenue and 19% the following year’s revenue. The proposed budget includes 533 full-time staff and 51 part-time staff. Salaries are budgeted to increase by 3% per year. Stony Point Center Following a study on fundraising by a consultant, CCS Fundraising, the board’s Coordinating Committee is recommending, “in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic which causes us to proceed carefully regarding our next steps,” that the board authorize Moffett to: • Implement a focused exploratory planning phase for a multi-year national campaign, with a Northeast regional focus, that has a preliminary working goal of $4 million plus a campaign budget, down from the $10.3 million originally envisioned. • Engage “strong volunteer campaign leadership with an emphasis on a diverse group of individuals who have the interest and capacity to open doors to gifts for Stony Point.” • Enact initial Matthew 25 programming at Stony Point Center before going public with the campaign. • Approve priorities as recommended by the other consultant on the project, Run River, including private bathrooms in lodges; solar power; landscaping; other facility upgrades, such as window replacement, keycards and a commercial laundry; and enhancements to the Evergreen building, to modernize administration, conference and dining spaces. According to a 2020 Baseline Year report prepared by PMA’s Theology, Formation & Evangelism, the pandemic has placed on hold or significantly altered work on a number of projects, including development of marketing, financial and development plans; staff structure; and site/facility improvements. “The current disruption of business at Stony Point Center is clearly a crisis,” the report states. “The impact on finances, staffing and groups is plainly catastrophic. It will require heroic and creative solutions from many persons.” But it’s also an operational crisis, “and every possible operational response must be fully explored. It should only be a measure of extreme last resort to change strategy as a result of an operational issue. Strategy may be slowed and may need to be adjusted but should not be sacrificed … Reconfiguring staff, developing programmatic initiatives and making improvements to facilities should all continue to proceed on as realistic a schedule as possible.”