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Presbyterian generosity, pandemic continue to impact A Corp finances

During its second day of quarterly meetings Friday, the A Corp Board also heard reports on the conference center and the PC(USA)’s expanded reach in Louisville

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Presbyterian Center in Louisville now houses a new conference center and production studio. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Ian Hall, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, had mostly good news for the A Corp Board Friday while presenting a financial report comparing June 30, 2022, to June 30, 2021.

Among that good news, which should come as a surprise to very few readers: Presbyterians are a generous bunch. Disaster relief donations, mainly to aid Ukrainian refugees and the victims of tornadoes in western Kentucky and other places, were up $7.3 million year over year. The very room in which the board sat, the Presbyterian Center’s new conference facility, increased the value of A Corp property and equipment by $3 million. And even considering the market downturn during the first half of 2022, long-term investments are up $27 million.

“It’s worth pointing out we don’t budget on those unrealized gains and losses,” Hall told the board. As a result, “we won’t see the effect” of any loss in investment revenue for 18 months, Hall said. “One hopes the market recovers. It always has.”

Ian J. Hall began in 2021 as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. (Photo courtesy of the United Methodist Church’s Indiana Conference)

From the day-to-day operational perspective, “things are OK,” Hall said.

Even after nearly 2½ years, the pandemic continues to affect the budget, Hall pointed out. The category “other income” was $2.6 million less than expected, in part due to the cancellation of this summer’s Presbyterian Youth Triennium, which brings in more than $1 million every three years.

Total expenses over the year are $9.8 million less than budget, with salaries and benefits $1.7 million less due to position vacancies. Program expenses were $4.1 million under what was planned due to decreased program expense by Compassion, Peace & Justice, World Mission and the Triennium cancellation. The Office of the General Assembly spent nearly $700,000 more than it did last year due to the 225th General Assembly held this summer.

Managing the conference center

A Corp President Kathy Lueckert said the plan is to hire a conference center manager and marketer after Jan. 1, 2023. While the A Corp Board is the first of the PC(USA)’s many entities to use the conference center, more are on the way, including Presbyterian Women, the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission, the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the Committee on Theological Education.

Kathy Lueckert is president of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. (Contributed photo)

Until the conference center manager is in place, “we are figuring out the best way to use and market” the conference center’s production studio, Lueckert said. “We’re trying to be careful about who uses the equipment and how it’s checked out.” Lueckert expressed gratitude to Nathan Young, who produced the online portion of the most recent General Assembly “and is helping us through the fall as we learn production capabilities.”

The Stated Clerk and A Corp president on playing a bigger part in Louisville’s future

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), updated the board on efforts to fulfill community expectations for the church to play a larger role in helping to bring Louisville together.

“We were given this building and we were courted by the city” in the mid-1980s to come to Louisville, Nelson told the board. “In Louisville there was the expectation we would help turn Louisville around.” But “we had become very insular and didn’t grasp the power that was being given to us. I believe it’s a calling for us to be here, to really make a difference.”

He discussed efforts to do just that, and Lueckert told the board about recent conversations with institutions in the Black community “about how we can partner better in Louisville.”

“We have not consistently shown up, particularly for Louisville’s Black community,” Lueckert said, “and we should have been.”

Lueckert said she offered herself “to be the midwife for these organizations to list their needs and how we can be supportive.” She said she’s heard from 10 organizations “who want to partner with us in some way. I am excited about these possibilities and how they might play out. … It’s an honor and a privilege to help the Presbyterian Church become the anchor institution it was expected to be.”

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II is Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). (Photo by Rich Copley)

“We’re the church,” Nelson said, “and there’s something different about being the church.”

“Our hero failed, according to the consciousness of the world. But for those of us with faith, he actually succeeded, and it happened because of the God who sent him, who gave him everything he needed to live again,” Nelson said.

In other business …

The board will be submitting suggestions for people to serve on the commission tasked by the 225th General Assembly with unifying the OGA and the Presbyterian Mission Agency, with the Assembly Co-Moderators, the Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis and the Rev. Ruth Santana-Grace, making the ultimate selections after consulting with the General Assembly Nominating Committee. valerie izumi, an Assistant Stated Clerk and Manager for GA Nominations, said a similar process will be followed for the funding model development team also mandated by commissioners to the recent Assembly. Of the names submitted, one member from each of the two entities will have been recommended by the A Corp Board.

For the unification commission, the application deadline will be Oct. 19. The positions will be posted by Aug. 31.

Board Member Chris Mason said this might be “an interesting opportunity to nominate people” not already serving on national committees or boards, he said. “It’ll be interesting to have that in mind.”

Board members approved upcoming meeting dates: Dec. 8-9 via Zoom and these dates for 2023: Feb. 16-17 via Zoom, May 18-19 in person, Aug. 24-25 via Zoom and Nov. 16-17 in person.

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