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No raises in 2021 for Presbyterian Mission Agency staff

PMA Board wraps up its three-day meetings Friday with committee reports

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian Mission Agency

The Rev. Michelle Hwang, vice chair of the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee, was recently the guest on “Just Talk Live” hosted by, from left, Lee Catoe and Destini Hodges. (Screen shot)

LOUISVILLE — Voting “with regret,” the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Personnel and Nominating Committee reported to the entire board Friday that budget restraints and the “current COVID reality” will mean no pay increases during 2021 for PMA staff.

Committee Chair the Rev. Nicholas Yoda said the committee made the decision Wednesday during a closed session. After the vote, he said committee members “turned quickly to pastoral care: How do we navigate this implementation caringly? It’s not something that was done lightly.”

“It is unfortunate that we have to make this decision at this time and I am sorry for the impact this may have on staff,” PMA President and Executive Director the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett wrote to staff following the announcement of the decision Friday, “but hopefully in 2021 we will have a better forecast for what the future looks like with regards to vision and financial expectations.”

The Rev. Warren Lesane, Jr., who chairs the PMA Board and is a synod executive, said he thinks “most councils of the church have had to come to a similar conclusion.”

Committee reports can be found by clicking “meeting papers” at this website.

Here are highlights of the action items included in committee reports received and approved by the PMAB on Friday:

Resource Allocation & Stewardship Committee

The board approved PMA budgets for 2021 and 2022 after the 224th General Assembly (2020) approved budget targets with projected shortfalls in revenue from contributions (a result of the pandemic) of 25% in 2021 and 20% in 2022. The General Assembly, the committee noted, was not asked to approve specific reductions to meet budget targets. Rather, this task was left to each entity, working with their respective boards or committees. The PMA was therefore left with the task of identifying $8.2 million in reductions for 2021 and $6.8 million in 2022, which it has done with the budgets adopted on Friday.

The board also approved the committee’s list of General Assembly Mission restricted funds grants.

Nurture the Body Committee

The committee moved, and the board approved, the 2022 programmatic emphases and liturgical dates.

Outreach to the World Committee

 The board approved a committee recommendation to authorize the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) to file or co-file a shareholder resolution on child exploitation with an unnamed information and communications technology company.

Coordinating Committee

The board approved changes in meeting dates for 2022 and the proposed meeting dates from fall 2022 through spring 2024.

It also, at the request of the Rev. Michelle Hwang, a board member, decided to revisit a comment the Coordinating Committee made on behalf of the board ahead of the 224th General Assembly (2020).

That comment was on Overture 54, On Recognizing the National Caucus of Korean Presbyterian Churches as one of the Racial Ethnic Caucuses (the PC[USA] now uses the term “people of color”).

Hwang said members of the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee on which she serves “have been dealing with the relentless attack of Korean Americans to create a caucus. We don’t see the need or justification to give them more power when they continue to not ordain women in those churches.”

“I’d ask you to change the tone of this comment,” she asked the board. “It appears as an endorsement of the Korean American Caucus.” She also asked the board to seek the advice of REAC in reshaping its comment.

Lesane promised to take a look at possible changes to the comment. The overture is scheduled for consideration during the 225th General Assembly (2022).

After working its way through the committee reports, the board entered into closed session to discuss litigation, property, legal and personnel matters.

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