Commission proposes changes to Presbyterian Mission Agency structure, board moniker

Suggestions will be part of Moving Forward Implementation Commission’s report to the General Assembly

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Proposals including shifting the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s “funds development, interpretation and education function” into the PC(USA)’s Administrative Services Group are among those the Moving Forward Implementation Commission is nearly set to include in its report to the 224th General Assembly, due Feb. 21.

Meeting via conference call Tuesday evening, the commission determined it will vote on its proposals during a subsequent call Feb. 11 or 18. Tuesday’s two-hour meeting was spent refining the language of the commission’s proposals and debating whether they’ll all go forward into the report.

The most sweeping change would move Mission Engagement and Support, now currently part of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, into the A Corp’s Administrative Services Group, which provides a range of services, including legal, research, finance and accounting, translation and human resources, to a number of denominational agencies, including the PMA and Office of the General Assembly.

Commissioners said they and members of the Special Committee on Per Capita and Financial Sustainability are convinced that while the PMA “has proper infrastructure in place to adequately interpret, educate and raise funds, the Office of the General Assembly has no such infrastructure in place, available or within monetary reason.” As the commission seeks development of a unified budget “where revenue and expenses of both PMA and OGA are considered together, it wishes to see adequate funding and staffing afforded to the ecclesial work [the OGA’s mission] of the church.”

Commission Co-Moderator Marco Grimaldo said he plans to speak soon to three agency heads — Stated Clerk the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II; the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the PMA; and Kathy Lueckert, president of PC(USA), A Corporation — to discuss how the proposal will affect the agencies they lead.

Moffett’s title would be altered from “president and executive director” to “executive director” under another commission proposal. Commissioners said the term “president” is a holdover from when the denomination’s corporate functions, now handled by the A Corp, were carried out by the PMA.

Commissioners also propose changing the name of the PMA Board to “Committee on the Presbyterian Mission Agency.” Here’s part of the commission’s rationale: “By removing corporate functions from the Mission Agency Board and moving them to the A Corp Board, the Mission Agency governing body now acts solely in the interest of the mission activities just as the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly’s sole responsibility is to focus on the ecclesial work of the denomination. By following a similar naming convention to COGA, parity is created between these two agencies of the church under the A Corporation.”

Another proposal would eliminate the PMA Board’s Property Legal Committee and delegate property and legal advice and decisions to the relevant ministerial committees. With those functions now housed in the A Corp, the rationale goes, “there is no need for there to be an advisory committee in this capacity within the Mission Agency’s governing body.”

In addition, commissioners are set to recommend that any bequests left to the PC(USA) be allocated to both the PMA and OGA according to the Administrative Services Group’s current cost allocation percentage. That currently stands at 80 percent for PMA and 20 percent for OGA.

Commissioners said they will have more information on their unified budget proposal in the coming days and will include that proposal in their report to GA.

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