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PMAB responds to De La Rosa’s ‘open letter’ to Way Forward Commission

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) has written a letter of response to last week’s “open letter” to the Way Forward Commission penned by Tony De La Rosa, interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA). The PMAB chairman requested that the letter not be released publicly, as it was not intended to be an open letter, but a direct correspondence with the board and senior PMA staff.

Written by the PMAB chair and co-chair, Ken Godshall and Marsha Anson, the Board’s primary concern with De La Rosa’s letter is that in his capacity as interim executive director any statements he makes assume his role as a spokesperson for the PMA, and not as an individual as De La Rosa’s letter asserts.

The Board also takes issue with some of the claims in De La Rosa’s letter, which assert the Way Forward Commission has not engaged the PMA, its Board or staff, in substantive dialogue regarding proposed changes or current operational models.

The Board letter says the Commission has regularly sought feedback from the Board, staff and leadership of the PMA, and even De La Rosa.

Regarding De La Rosa’s assertion that an “informal conversation is taking place about the possibility of breaking up the programmatic arms of the PMA into smaller, stand-alone units connected to congregational and mid-council networks of support,” the Board letter says this speculation of dismantling the PMA has created undue anxiety among staff.

In closing, the PMAB letter praised De La Rosa for his energy and enthusiasm during his interim leadership while saying the issuance of his “open letter” to the Way Forward Commission was disappointing and misrepresentative of the PMAB.

Expressing a hope that future communications will be expressed with unity, the letter says the Executive Committee of the PMAB will discuss the response more fully at its July 17–19 meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Way Forward Commission is expected to release its midterm report during a June 27 conference call.

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