Second day of PMA Board meeting sees approval of new board structure

David Crittenden introduced as PMA Acting Executive Director

by Gregg Brekke and Rick Jones

David Crittenden speaks to the PMA Board and guests at their fall 2017 meeting in Louisville. (Photo by Gregg Brekke)

LOUISVILLE – Following a morning that featured a Native American Day Worship service and cultural humility training for members of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB), the board convened following lunch to resume its agenda which included final debate and approval of a new board structure.

Based on the recommendations of the Governance Task Force, the board had approved three of four items in the report yesterday. The fourth motion – targeting best practices – was also approved addressing submission of the PMA staffing plan to the General Assembly, updated review procedures for the PMA executive director or interim executive director, and the structure of board leadership.

This amended and approved report of the Governance Task Force effects a change in the board size – reduced to 20 members through attrition, committee structure, diversity and composition concerns, and best practices.

“The call for change is coming from several places – the General Assembly, the PMA review committee, people in the pews,” said Ken Godshall, PMA Board chair, of this new working structure for the board. “We should welcome this moment at the PMA.”

Godshall introduced the newly hired acting interim director of the PMA, Dave Crittenden, who gave a brief introduction.

“Thank you for the chance to serve you and to work with the staff – on this my seventh day with you,” he said. “I am very, very proud of what you’ve done so far. I applaud your hard work in discerning the mind of Christ together, and your willingness to take bold steps together.”

A report from the Overhead Costs Ministerial Team confirmed that the PMA cost allocation process is accurate and dependable, being given a “highly efficient” rating with 84 percent of funds going to direct ministry. Costs of overhead, or ministry support services as they are often referred to in the PMA, are well under the 25 percent threshold set by nonprofit watchdog groups.

In an effort to more effectively fund ministry activities of the PMA, the overhead rate of 19 percent was discussed. A recommendation was approved asking leadership to consider moving to a flat rate for cost recovery. Exemptions to the flat rate recovery include the Board of Pensions portion of the Christmas Joy Offering and contributions to the Jinishian Memorial Fund. An implementation and evaluation report will be presented to the PMA Board finance committee at its September 2018 meeting.

In its interim report to the PMA Board, the Power and Privilege Ministerial Team brought up three main concerns.  The team believes power and privilege is a systemic issue and pledges to continue working in this area beyond its one year goal. The team also believes PMA actions on race and privilege “do not reflect the urgency” the 222nd General Assembly gave to the issue.

Team Chair James Parks referred to Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

“We see budgets as moral documents. Thirteen percent is allocated for Racial, Ethnic & Women’s Minsitries and Racial Justice,” he said. “This is unacceptable. We are letting congregations down that serve our most needy congregations.”

The team also encouraged the board to reflect on its own actions to ensure sensitivity to the issue.

“We should listen and work with one another. Some times we have to have these difficult conversations and but we should also look at the privilege we have and power we comprise collectively,” said Jason Chavez, team member. “Between now and the next board meeting, reflect on your individual role as a board member and think about the power and privilege you have.”

The team will present its final report at the February 2018 board meeting.

The General Assembly Referrals committee presented its series of referrals and reports, which received approval from the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board to report to the 223rd GA (2018).

The newly formed Ministry in a Divided Nation ministerial team began meeting yesterday. Team representative Joe Morrow said the group’s task is to discern what the three strategic ways the PMA can minister in a prophetic way to a divided nation including answer the question what are the impacts – political, social and otherwise – of the 2016 elections. Three phases: listen to the voices connected to the PC(USA) and PMA, and ask how those groups are being impacted; theological reflection on how Presbyterians are called to understand this era; and to consider what specific actions – considering PMA policies and GA actions – to faithfully respond.

The final action of the evening was the approval of the proposal to transfer publishing resources located in the PMA’s Theology Formation and Evangelism ministry, known as Congregational Ministry Publishing, to the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.

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