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The PC(USA)’s Administrative Services Group checked off most of its to-do list for 2022

The A Corp Board also heard a progress report Thursday on ASG’s newest member, Ministry Engagement & Support

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Glenn Cartstens-Peters via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — In baseball terms, the Administrative Services Group batted an eye-popping .677 last year.

Of the 62 items on its Business Plan for 2022, the ASG completed 42 tasks, A Corp President Kathy Lueckert reported to the A Corp Board meeting via Zoom on Thursday. Sixteen goals or projects were carried forward to 2023, with four others placed on hold.

“Despite everything we had on our plate, hosting General Assembly and other things, we had a very successful year,” Lueckert told the board. “I’m really proud of the ASG team for all of their hard work.”

“To have done that and pulled off a successful hybrid General Assembly [along with the Office of the General Assembly] was pretty amazing,” said Board Co-Chair Bridget-Anne Hampden.

The work plan touched on goals and projects involving a variety of services ASG provides to its clients, chief among them the Presbyterian Mission Agency and Office of the General Assembly. It included Building Services, Finance and Accounting, Global Language Resources, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal Services, Risk Management and Research Services.

The board entered into closed session mid-afternoon Thursday to discuss personnel, property, litigation and security matters. Later the board announced it took no action following the closed session.

Investment review

Anita Clemons, Senior Vice President of Investment Management for the Presbyterian Foundation, and Paul Partington, a Senior Vice Present and Senior Client Investment Officer with Northern Trust, updated the board on the fourth-quarter performance on the $530 million or so in A Corporation allocations that are being managed.

Among the items presented as part of their executive summary:

  • Investment markets delivered positive returns in the fourth quarter of 2022, but not enough to erase the previous negative quarters of the year
  • Stocks and bonds were both down as the Federal Reserve Board raised interest rates during the year to try and slow down inflation
  • 2022 saw energy as the top-performing equity sector. Growth areas including technology, telecom and real estate were the worst-performing sectors.
  • In January 2023, stock and bond markets continued an upward trend.
  • Spending formula distributions, which impact what the PMA receives from the Foundation each year in restricted funds, will rise in 2023 and 2024 because of the use of a 20-quarter rolling average and an 18-month lag, which prevent sharp and sudden decreases in distributions.
  • In January, $1.9 million was transferred from New Covenant funds into a new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion fund. As of Feb. 7, that portfolio was valued at more than $1.95 million.

Ministry Engagement & Support

At the behest of the 225th General Assembly (2022), Ministry Engagement & Support, the new name for Mission Engagement & Support, moved from PMA to the ASG as of Jan. 1. “For an arranged marriage, we are all happy right now and continue to move forward,” Lueckert told the board.

In 2023, MES has the goal of raising $27.1 million for the support of the PMA. “This is the first time we’ve had a financial goal,” Lueckert told board members. MES’ goals are to raise $15.6 million in shared and direct mission support, $10 million through the PC(USA)’s four Special Offerings and $1.5 million through the Presbyterian Giving Catalog.

Those goals follow 2022 giving that exceeded the goal by $14.4 million. While the goal was to raise $26.2 million, Presbyterians were extraordinarily generous in their support of Ukraine following the Russian invasion and, closer to home, those communities affected by tornadoes and other disasters. In all, $12.7 million was given in directed support to those two causes.

Rather than set a goal for per capita giving in 2023, which can be difficult to project depending on how many congregations withhold their payments, the current business plan, according to Lueckert, focuses on interpretation “and working with our colleagues in OGA.”

With Board Member Chris Mason voting no, the board approved the 2023 business plan.

Among other items of business, the board received a report from its Finance, Operations and Budget Committee indicating that in 2022, 20% of all goods and services purchased by the A Corporation had gone to diverse suppliers, and that 24.3% of the suppliers came from a diverse vendor pool. In both cases, the goal was 10%.

One project, the construction of the conference facility at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, Kentucky, saw 39.5% participation by diverse suppliers.

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