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PMAB Executive Committee clears way to transfer operations of Ghost Ranch from PMA to National Ghost Ranch Foundation

Statement required to advance proposed covenant agreement to full board for consideration

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service

Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center provides a supreme setting for deepening one’s spiritual yearnings and growth.

Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center provides a supreme setting for deepening one’s spiritual yearnings and growth.

LOUISVILLE – The Executive Committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) today (Sept. 13) approved a statement declaring that the programmatic work carried out on the site of the Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center is no longer within the purview of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA).

If the statement is approved by the full PMAB on Sept. 16, the way would be clear to proceed with the proposed covenant agreement to transfer the operations of Ghost Ranch from the PMA to the National Ghost Ranch Foundation (NGRF) by January 1, 2017, pending subsequent approval by the boards of the Presbyterian Foundation and NGRF.

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.

Presbyterian Mission Agency Interim Executive Director, Tony De La Rosa, described the action item before the PMAB Executive Committee for its approval as “essentially a formalization of what you approved at your Executive Committee retreat in Chicago. This puts into process the formal move that the PMA may undertake in order to begin to transfer operations of Ghost Ranch to the National Ghost Ranch Foundation.”

De La Rosa explained that the statement is grounded in the PMA’s Mission Work Plan, adopted by the PMAB and the General Assembly, “which calls for the PMA to be involved in the mission work of the church and in fulfilling the Great Ends of the Church, but acknowledges that the PMA is not solely responsible for doing so.”

The PMAB Executive Committee’s action today begins the “finalization of a series of agreements that are described in an action which will be reviewed by the PMA’s Finance Committee and recommended to this [executive] committee, which will act on behalf of the board,” said De La Rosa.

“This action allows us to separate from Ghost Ranch without separating from Stony Point,” observed the Rev. Ken Godshall, PMAB chair.

Prior to approval, the following sentence was added to the action at the recommendation of Molly Baskin, chair of the PMAB’s Finance Committee: “This decision will become effective January 1, 2017, conditional on all the prerequisites of transfer of operations being satisfied in the PMA’s sole determination.”

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.

De La Rosa and the Rev. Mark Hostetter, a member of the Ghost Ranch Governing Board, will make a presentation to the full PMAB on Wednesday night, Sept. 14, with the purpose of orienting especially those new board members who may not be familiar with the mission of Ghost Ranch so that they may make an informed decision in this initiative. De La Rosa’s portion of the presentation will look back at Ghost Ranch’s history, while Hostetter’s portion will look toward the future.

“This is a way of the agencies working together in the way that the General Assembly envisioned,” added Godshall later in the meeting.

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