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Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Executive Committee wraps up three-day retreat

Committee prepares for full Board meeting in the fall

by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

ST. PAUL – The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) Executive Committee retreat concluded on Wednesday with preparation for the full Board meeting in September. The Executive Committee voted to recommend approval of the proposed Work Plan for the PMAB for 2017-2018. The focus will include:  

The PMAB Executive Committee concludes its three-day retreat at the Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, MN. Photo by Rick Jones.

Committees of the 222nd General Assembly — to review the mission and organizational structure of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and other national agencies, including the work of the Way Forward Commission, the All Agency Review Committee and the Vision 2020 Committee.

Executive Leadership — support Interim Executive Director Tony De La Rosa in the completion of his goals for the year. The Executive Director Search Committee hopes to have a new executive director by the end of this year. The Board is expected to create a transition plan to ensure a good start.

Mission Work Plan and Budget — a Board Task Force will support preparation of an updated Mission Work Plan for 2018–20 that includes the development of directional goals and may possibly consider a limited number of agency priorities.

Board Governance and Structure — committee leadership hopes to extend the mandate of the Board’s Governance Task Force from September to the next General Assembly in order to complete its work.  The executive committee also hopes to propose, for General Assembly approval, a reduction in Board size and composition, including the number of corresponding members. (The Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns, the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns and the Advisory Committee for Social Witness Policy will continue as corresponding members.)

Key Strategic Issues — PMA Board members will work to address issues that will affect the church’s mission and ministry focusing on the following questions:

  • What are the three most important things the Mission Agency can effectively do to address power and privilege?
  • How should overhead costs for mission be managed, allocated and communicated?
  • What are the three most important strategic responses the Presbyterian Mission Agency can offer to advance Christ’s prophetic and compassionate mission in a divided nation?
  • What strategies if any can be developed to make Stony Point a sustainable ministry within the Presbyterian Mission Agency?
  • How shall the Mission Agency respond to more than 90 referrals from the 222nd General Assembly?

Board Meetings — continue a holistic approach to the church’s mission that upholds the integrity of program and administration.

“We will continue to try and uphold a balance between program and administrative work as well as participate in community conversations; working within smaller groups in an effort to stimulate creativity,” Board Chair Ken Godshall said. “Following a successful experience in Puerto Rico, we also plan to hold the April 2018 meeting outside of Louisville. The September 2017 meeting will include additional training in cultural humility.”

Barry Creech, PMA director of policy, administration and board support, reported there were currently 83 pending G.A. referrals, 75 of which were from the 222nd General Assembly. He said more than half will be taken up at the September board meeting with the remaining referrals to be addressed at the February meeting.

Jeffrey Japinga (right), executive presbyter with the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, speaks to the PMAB Executive Committee in St. Paul. Photo by Rick Jones.

“A ministerial team has been assembled to work on the referrals and will meet for orientation in August to outline the process,” Creech said. “We will follow up with the team three weeks prior to the September Board meeting to provide a high-level view of what is coming up. We will look at the referrals in more depth in September and repeat that process for the February board meeting.”

During a break in the meeting, De La Rosa recognized Jeffrey Japinga, executive presbyter with the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, thanking him as well as Central Presbyterian Church staff in St. Paul for their hospitality during the executive committee retreat this week.

“The opportunities and challenges we face here in Minnesota are not that different than those facing other presbyteries and the national church,” Japinga said. “One of the things we are excited about is seeing people from other lands coming here and contributing to who we are as a church. We are working to be faithful to our calling and to our communities as we witness to the gospel. We welcome your partnership to minister.”

The PMAB Executive Committee held its three-day retreat in Minnesota, which included meetings with local ministers working with refugees from South Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as touring construction/renovation work at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis.

The full Board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 21–23  in Louisville.


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