Presbyterian Mission Agency Board approves actions on Ghost Ranch

Transfer of operations to National Ghost Ranch Foundation pending definitive agreements

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 way has been cleared for the transfer of operations of the Ghost Ranch Conference & Education Center from the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) to the National Ghost Ranch Foundation (NGRF), as a result of the PMAB’s approval today of two actions from the corporate Property, Legal, and Finance Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, along with its approval of a related action from the PMAB Executive Committee.

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.

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.

The first of the two actions approved by the PMAB from the corporate report relates to the expected sale of Ghost Ranch’s former facility in Santa Fe, N.M., which it closed in December 2010. That action gives the President of the Corporation, Tony De La Rosa, authority to “designate the use of the proceeds… in a manner he reasonably determines to be in the best interests of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation.”

The second of the two actions from the Corporation contains a list of seven conditions that must be met in order to effect the transfer of operations on or about January 1, 2017. For the list of seven conditions, the full report of the corporate Property, Legal, and Finance Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation is found here.

The approved action from the Executive Committee concerns 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. Approval of the statement was also a necessary condition for the transfer of operations to proceed.

Following the vote in plenary session today, the Rev. Chad Herring, a member of the Ghost Ranch Task Force appointed by the PMAB, rose to “express moments of gratitude.”

“It’s a long journey that we’ve been on,” Herring said, naming all of the entities who will be involved in finalizing the necessary agreements to be presented at a called meeting of the full PMAB. “All will be continuing their work to get these documents in order for action. This is an important ministry of our church. Over several decades, there have been really important relationships and ministries that happen both at the Santa Fe location and at Ghost Ranch. With gratitude I feel like we’re at this point.”


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