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Ghost Ranch moves closer to financial and operational self-sustainability

Additional details are released from Sept. 1 working group meeting in New York City

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE –When the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) meets from Sept. 13–16, members of the board—together with representatives of the Presbyterian Foundation and the National Ghost Ranch Foundation (NGRF)—will consider the fundamentals of an agreement that has the potential to revitalize the mission and ministry of the Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center.

The New Mexico landscape as seen from the patio of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center. (Photo courtesy Ghost Ranch/Jamie Clifford)

The New Mexico landscape as seen from the patio of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center. (Photo courtesy Ghost Ranch/Jamie Clifford)

The proposed covenant agreement, which was presented as a draft proposal during a closed session of the PMAB’s Executive Committee meeting in Chicago, July 27–29, was designed to maximize the operational efficiency of Ghost Ranch, which has been owned by the Presbyterian Church for more than 60 years. If approved by the PMAB—and later by the boards of the Presbyterian Foundation and NGRF—the agreement would transfer the operations of Ghost Ranch from the PMA to the NGRF by January 1, 2017.

The NGRF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 1972 exclusively to support Ghost Ranch as a ministry of the PC(USA), has been providing financial, operational, and volunteer resources for Ghost Ranch.

Located 60 miles northwest of Santa Fe just beyond the town of Abiquiu, New Mexico, Ghost Ranch is one of three national conference centers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It was donated to the Board of Christian Education of the PC(USA) in 1955. The Board of Christian Education became one of the Presbyterian Foundation’s constituent corporations upon the merger of the former United Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church U.S. in 1983. Since then, Ghost Ranch has been operated directly by the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) or its predecessor agencies. The landscape of Ghost Ranch, which is open year-round, encompasses 21,000 acres in northern New Mexico.

Members of a working group representing the parties involved in drafting the documents necessary to move toward transferring Ghost Ranch’s operations to the NGRF met in New York City on Sept. 1. All were agreed on the common goal of coming together as one body, one family, in order to find a way for an effective ministry and witness at Ghost Ranch.

“Those who take part in Ghost Ranch’s inspirational and educational programming, which has served to grow friendships, families, and faith for generations, will continue to experience its outstanding offerings without interruption,” said Tony De La Rosa, interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “The transition should be seamless.”

Because Ghost Ranch attracts upwards of 60,000 visitors and guests annually, plans for a proposed multi-million-dollar capital campaign are included in the NGRF business plan that accompanies the proposal, with the funds to be raised by NGRF. It is anticipated that the campaign’s proceeds would be spent not only on capital improvements, but also on the creation of new guest housing to meet the current and future demand.

Further details and working documents are expected to be posted on the Presbyterian Mission Agency website prior to the upcoming board meeting.

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