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Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Executive Committee meets in Chicago

Committee considers future action concerning Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – The Executive Committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), meeting for its annual retreat at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois, July 27-29, took action on the mission and ministry of the Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Ghost Ranch, one of three national conference centers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was donated to the denomination in 1955. Since that time—although owned by the Board of Christian Education of the PC(USA), which became one of the Presbyterian Foundation’s related entities in 1986—Ghost Ranch has been operated directly by the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) or its predecessor agencies.

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)

Of the three national conference centers—Ghost Ranch, Montreat, and Stony Point Center—only Stony Point is wholly owned and operated by the PMA. Montreat Conference Center is under the management of the church-related Mountain Retreat Association, which formed in 1905. Although a proposal to separately incorporate Stony Point Center was disapproved by the PMA Board in 2014, the board did adopt a series of financial milestones for it as Stony Point works toward financial self-sustainability.

After emerging from closed session, the PMAB Executive Committee approved a motion recommending the full Presbyterian Mission Agency Board consider a proposal to maximize the operational efficiency of the 21,000-acre year-round facility in northern New Mexico. The proposal, which calls for close collaboration with the Presbyterian Foundation and the Ghost Ranch Governing Board in moving Ghost Ranch toward eventual operational and financial sustainability, was authored by Ghost Ranch Governing Board.

Since 1972, the National Ghost Ranch Foundation (NGRF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established exclusively to support Ghost Ranch as a ministry of the PC(USA), has been providing financial, operational, and volunteer resources for Ghost Ranch. Since 1995, the Ghost Ranch Governing Board, as provided for by Covenant Agreement with the PMA, has been providing day-to-day supervisory and management support of Ghost Ranch operations along with PMA staff. The proposal would move Ghost Ranch’s operations toward sustainability and would transfer operational control of the property to the National Ghost Ranch Foundation.

“In accordance with our 2017-18 Mission Work Plan, the Presbyterian Mission Agency is committed to ‘inspire, equip and connect the PC(USA) in its many expressions to serve Christ,’” said Tony De La Rosa, the PMA’s interim executive director. “Ghost Ranch has been a historically important venue for Christian witness, education, and recreation for Presbyterians throughout the country. We look forward to working with the Presbyterian Foundation and National Ghost Ranch Foundation in securing a sustainable future for Ghost Ranch for generations of Presbyterians to come.”


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