Cutting to the chase

A Corp Board completes its work in half the time allotted

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Presbyterian Center in Louisville, Kentucky, is in the midst of a renovation ahead of its role hosting the 225th General Assembly beginning in June. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — The Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation made short work of its agenda Thursday, completing the business conducted during the public segment of its meeting in just an hour, half the time the board had allotted.

After that, the A Corp Board, as it’s known, met in privileged (closed) session to discuss personnel and property matters.

“This is an exciting time for the life of the Church,” the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), told the board. Because of lingering concerns over COVID-19, “other denominations have made the decision not to have the equivalent of our General Assembly. We’ve had to press through issues of technology [related to the upcoming hybrid assembly] and we are praying like everyone else that when we turn on the lights they will come on. We feel reasonably sure we will move through a significant and ground-breaking General Assembly.”

The Office of the General Assembly “has gone through a lot to get to this point,” Nelson told the board. So have other entities, including the Administrative Services Group, the business office of the A Corp.

“It’s a significant shift, renovating the [Presbyterian Center] to accommodate this, and ASG has been a significant player,” Nelson said. “Other entities of the Church have poured in a good spirit.”

“We are walking by faith, not by sight,” Nelson said. “If we are real about that, it’s what we do every day.”

Budgets, renovation, a work plan and more

The board got on its roll by approving several items of business from its Finance, Operations and Budget Committee. Among the items adopted were ASG budgets for 2023 and 2024 totaling about $39 million.

Included in those two budgets are a handful of increases in expenses. The result, the committee told the board in its report, “will enable us to serve our client partners better.”

Global Language Resources will be adding two linguists and will see a boost in its contract translation and interpretation capabilities.

The renovated conference center, which is on track for completion before the Assembly begins in mid-June, will require someone to manage and market the improved facility, which will include meeting capabilities and a media production studio. A Corp President Kathy Lueckert told the board that PC(USA) boards and committees are expected to “to take advantage of the space” once the 225th General Assembly concludes on July 9. How they use the renovated facility “will help us considerably learning to manage the space.”

Kathy Lueckert is president of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation.

Lueckert hopes to have the new manager on the job by January 2023.

“Without you,” A Corp Board member Sam Bonner told Lueckert, “[the renovation] would not have been done at the level and completeness and accuracy it’s being done. You took this on in addition to your real job. I saw you do that work, and I am impressed.”

“It all takes a team,” Lueckert replied, adding that “all signs are positive” on the renovation schedule and an overhaul of the ASG’s financial software platform. “We give God thanks for that.”

Lueckert also briefly discussed ASG’s 2022 business plan, which spells out projects, responsible parties and target completion dates. The varied to-do list includes conducting a technology assessment and implementing a technology road map by July; developing the 2023-24 ASG, Presbyterian Mission Agency and OGA budgets with a unified budget presentation ready in time for General Assembly; reviewing the Book of Order in Spanish and Korean and retranslating as appropriate by the end of the year; revising the new employee orientation program by October; expanding the number of diverse suppliers by 10% by the end of the year; and supporting implementation of the new PC(USA) website by Dec. 31.

At the urging of the board, “we tried to make the goals concrete and measurable,” Lueckert said, eliminating goals that simply said “continue to do this” or “ongoing.”

The major goals for the year, Lueckert said, are successfully completing the Presbyterian Center renovation and then helping to host the General Assembly, which will “involve nearly every part of ASG behind the scenes to help OGA make it a successful event.”

The A Corp Board will next meet April 21-22.

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