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Three entities approve diminished revenue estimates

Eight recommendations will be forwarded next month to commissioners elected to the PC(USA)’s first online General Assembly

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Using technology that performed flawlessly Monday, three entities approved eight recommendations to send to next month’s online General Assembly concerning the impacts of lower than anticipated giving brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

A COVID-19 financial team has worked to revise downward revenue estimates that fund the work of the Office of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Administrative Services Group. Expenditure revisions will be determined after the assembly, said Kathy Lueckert, PC(USA), A Corporation president.

“We wish we could bring you good news or at best no news, but unfortunately that’s not the case,” she told the oversight boards for the three entities, adding “we should expect significant decreases” in contributions for this year and the next two years as the economic calamity brought on by the deadly virus continues to impact giving at congregational and mid council levels as well as the national church.

The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation Board and Presbyterian Mission Agency Board passed each of the recommendations unanimously or nearly unanimously. While two hours had been set aside for Monday’s joint meeting, led by the Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly, the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann and Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, the three entities completed all their business with 25 minutes to spare.

One benefit to holding Monday’s online meeting was to test improvements and modifications made to PC-Biz, the voting and informational software used every two years by General Assembly commissioners, observers and church staff. Monday’s voting went off without a hitch.

“Many thanks to the production team, the wizard and his friends behind the curtain,” Kohlmann said near the end of the meeting. “Way to go! This has provided us a great opportunity to hone the plans and processes for the 224th General Assembly.”

The three groups saved the most important recommendation for last, passing it unanimously (15-0 for COGA, 24-0 for PMAB and 11-0 for the A Corp Board). That resolution authorizes the three entities to amend the various adopted budgets as appropriate to address ongoing financial implications brought on by the pandemic and other situations that might emerge. Any amendments to the budgets must be reported to the 224th General Assembly, which is scheduled to meet in 2022 in Columbus, Ohio.

“We thought this a wise and prudent thing to do, to (ask the General Assembly to) give the three (entities) the power to amend the budget and the authority to report back in 2022,” Lueckert said.

Among the other recommendations that gained approval and will be sent on to General Assembly commissioners:

  • Revised ASG budgets of about $16.5 million for 2021 and about $17.4 million in 2022.
  • Mission budgets revised downward to about $63.6 million in 2021 and $67.3 million in 2022. Those are down about $9.2 million and $7.5 million, respectively.
  • That allocations of annual income realized in 2019 and projected for 2020 from two funds, the John C. Lord and Edmund P. Dwight funds, be used in support of the budget for the PMA’s general mission work.
  • A revised General Assembly Per Capita budget of about $12.8 million for 2021 and $12.3 million for 2022.
  • A revised designated budget for the OGA of about $580,000 in 2021 and nearly $564,000 in 2022.
  • A unified budget, representing the budgets of all three entities combined, of about $80.1 million in 2021 and about $83.4 million in 2022.
  • That the apportionment rate for 2021 and 2022 remain where it is now, at $8.95.

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