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PMAB moves forward with transfer of operations of Ghost Ranch from PMA to National Ghost Ranch Foundation

Transfer expected to take effect on January 1, 2017

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service

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)

LOUISVILLE – The action required to transfer the operations of the Ghost Ranch Conference & Education Center from the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) to the National Ghost Ranch Foundation (NGRF), was approved today by the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB).

Ghost Ranch, one of three national conference centers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is located 60 miles northwest of Santa Fe just beyond the town of Abiquiu, New Mexico. It was donated to the Board of Christian Education (BCE) 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 PMA or its predecessor agencies. The landscape of Ghost Ranch, which is open year-round, encompasses 21,000 acres in northern New Mexico.

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.

Today’s action—which will not change Ghost Ranch’s ownership, only its operator—was brought to the full PMAB in a called meeting in closed session as the next step in a process resulting from its approval of three related actions at the September PMAB meeting. The approved actions—including 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 PMA—were required to clear the way for the transfer. As a result of today’s approved action, the officers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, are now authorized to enter into a non-binding covenant among the principals—the Corporation, the NGRF, the BCE, and the Foundation—and the three agreements included in a list of seven conditions that were required to be met in order to effect the transfer of operations on January 1, 2017.

All parties to the transfer of operations, who have been meeting together for some months, are agreed on the common goal of coming together as one body, one family, in order to find a way forward for an effective ministry and Presbyterian witness at Ghost Ranch. The other parties still need to approve the proposed agreements that the PMAB took action on today.

“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 as a result of the operations transfer,” said Tony De La Rosa, interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, in a September 9 news story. “The transition should be seamless.”


Following is the text of the action approved by the PMAB in closed session and reported out upon arising from closed session:

“That the Board of the Corporation approves and authorizes the officers of the Corporation to take any and all steps necessary to enter into the Covenant among the Corporation, National Ghost Ranch Foundation and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation and/or the Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the following agreements:

  1. A definitive agreement between NGRF and the Corporation for the transfer of the operations of Ghost Ranch to NGRF;
  1. A definitive agreement between BCE and NGRF for use of the Ghost Ranch real property; and
  1. A definitive agreement between Foundation and the Corporation with regard to discontinuation of the use of the Ghost Ranch property, real and personal (including property, plant and equipment owned by the Corporation) in the programmatic work of the PMA, and the related amendment to the Limited Power of Attorney and its Annex A between these two parties to remove the Ghost Ranch real property from Annex A, with the Ghost Ranch real property then being held by the BCE as investment property.”

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