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PMAB Task Force seeks advice on members’ external committee commitments

Potentially reduced board size, budget constraints strain resources

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – The Governance Task Force of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is seeking input from agency committee and ministry partners that receive representatives from the PMAB. Citing the current board size, budget limitations and time demands for board members, the Governance Task Force believes the existing deployment model is “not sustainable.”

“The Board is embracing the need for change which came out of the 2016 General Assembly in Portland,” the letter said. “In the past several months, we have changed our meeting agenda and committee structure. We are now turning to a more difficult issue: the informal inter-connecting structure that requires our Board members to serve on other PC(USA) boards and committees and has representatives from many of those other boards and committees at Presbyterian Mission Agency Board meetings.”

The PMAB currently consists of 40 voting and 17 non-voting members. At this time, 33 of 36 members eligible for deployment to external committees serve in such roles.

PC(USA) organizations receiving the letter requesting input, representing 17 slots the board currently has to fill, include:

  • Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC)
  • Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns (ACWC)
  • Advocacy Committee for Social Witness Policy (ACSWP)
  • Committee on Theological Education (COTE)
  • General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations (GACEIR)
  • Montreat Conference Center
  • Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel (PCCMP)
  • Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA)
  • Jinishian Memorial Program
  • Mission Development Resources Committee (MDRC)
  • Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI)

The Governance Task Force also began discussions concerning reducing the size of the PMAB, possibly to 16 to 25 members. Any change in the board size must be approved by the General Assembly, and the Governance Task Force believes reconsidering external committee commitments will position the PMAB to better serve these groups should the envisioned reduction in board size occur.

To this end, the letter said, “The revenues of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (including those available to fund related ministries and committees) have declined significantly in the last ten years.  The Church can no long support a Presbyterian Mission Agency Board of 40 elected members and approximately 20 other corresponding members and ecumenical advisory delegates. Consistent with the report of the PMA Review Committee, we are looking at alternatives that would materially reduce the size of the elected Board.”

The Governance Task Force also hopes to configure board functions to be more effective, saying in its report, “PMAB members told us that they believe it would be helpful to them to reconfigure and envision the structure and role of the PMAB in order to align Board governance with strategic and fiduciary roles… Members of the Board told us of their desire to be more engaged in their roles, particularly in setting priorities for their work and using their time together as a Board more wisely.”

Responses to the request for an alternative engagement model were requested from the above entities by December 1, 2016. The Governance Task Force will present their findings to the PMAB in 2017.

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