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Per capita and financial sustainability committee releases preliminary report

Among the possibilities for additional study: restructuring the PC(USA)

by Leslie Scanlon, Presbyterian Outlook

LOUISVILLE — A committee considering the future of per capita and financial sustainability in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has issued its preliminary report — meeting its Dec. 31, 2019 deadline.

That preliminary report on financial sustainability lists a series of “draft recommendations under consideration” — matters the committee will discuss further during its Jan. 13-15 meeting in Louisville, before its final recommendations to the 2020 General Assembly are due Feb. 21.

The preliminary report includes this observation: “Sadly, there is too little union, not enough community, and way too much confusion about mission among congregations and councils for our church to be sustainable going forward. This is why we recommend an examination of the possibility of reorganizing our national church. “

Among the possibilities the committee is considering:

  • Recommending a process for restructuring the PC(USA) by proposing that the assembly create a task force to bring a proposed revision of the Organization for Mission to the 2022 General Assembly. That task force would consider the idea of forming a unified missional body, instead of the current structure with a separate Presbyterian Mission Agency and Office of the General Assembly.
  • Asking the assembly to initiate a staff effort to determine a new system for allocating both restricted and unrestricted funding to support the work of the Office of the General Assembly (OGA). OGA is currently almost totally dependent on per capita funding, and close to exhausting its reserves.
  • Asking the assembly to authorize interpretation campaigns to “explain the ‘why’ of making one’s church the giving priority” and to explain why per capita funding exists and how it’s used.

Following instructions from the 2018 General Assembly, the committee has sent its financial sustainability report to the Moving Forward Implementation Commission, the 2020 Vision team and the six PC(USA) agencies.

The committee discussed the preliminary report in a conference call in December, with some members saying they hope the Moving Forward Implementation Commission will support the committee’s final recommendations, giving those proposals added momentum.

Read the full report here. Click here to view a balance sheet for the PC(USA), A Corporation from 2015 through 2018.


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