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Three PC(USA) governing bodies unanimously approve unified budget proposal

Proposals for 2025 and 2026 revenues and spending now go on to the Unification Commission

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

From left, the Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett, the Rev. Bronwen Boswell, Ian Hall, Kathy Lueckert and the Rev. Michelle Hwang help lead Tuesday’s historic joint meeting. (Photo by Rick Jones)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Three governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) made history meeting jointly online and at the Salt Palace Convention Center on Tuesday, unanimously approving a proposed unified budget for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Office of the General Assembly and the Administrative Services Group.

The top official from each entity — Kathy Lueckert, president of the Presbyterian Church, A Corporation; the Rev. Bronwen Boswell, Acting Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA); and the Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett, president and executive director of the PMA — took turns presenting the budget to the two entities meeting in person, the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the PMA Board, as well as the A Corp Board, which joined online.

The unified budget proposal can be seen here by going to “Meeting Papers,” then “2024,” then “May,” then “Plenary.” It’s item P.102.

The Unification Commission required the development of the unified budget proposal, which the commission will itself vote on Thursday ahead of consideration of the proposal by the 226th General Assembly, which meets online June 25-27 for committee work and at the Salt Palace Convention Center for plenary sessions beginning June 29 through July 4.

The budget proposal anticipates revenues of about $94.2 million in 2025 and about $94.3 million in 2026. The sources of revenue fall into four categories: contributions, investment return, sales of services and resources, and other sources of funding.

The unified proposal projects expenses of about $91.2 million in 2025 and about $93.8 million in 2026. A total of $5 million in “reduction objectives” are included in the budget to balance it both years.

“This budget is designed to help strengthen our witness to the love and justice of Jesus Christ,” Boswell said.

“We think the stories we celebrate are important,” Moffett said, recounting how she, Boswell, the Rev. Jermaine Ross-Allam, who directs the Center for the Repair of Historic Harms, and others participated in a time of apology and reparations for the racist closing of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Juneau, Alaska, in 1963. Read about the events last fall here.

“It was a seminal moment for me,” said Moffett, who preached during a memorable worship service in Juneau. “Your moving apology — it was powerful,” Moffett told Boswell.

“As I delivered that apology as head of the Communion and a white person, tears welled up. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the church,” Boswell said.

“The beautiful thing is, we did this together. We care for the church together, and we can be a greater and mightier voice for the gospel of Jesus Christ” through unification, Moffett said. “That is the work of the gospel.”

In a separate action, the three governing boards also approved proposed per capita rates for 2025 ($10.20) and 2026 ($10.62). Those fall in line with the Unification Commission’s requirement that per capita goes up no higher than the inflation rate each year.

Ian Hall discusses projected revenue and expense figures included in the proposed unified budget for 2025 and 2026. (Photo by Rick Jones)

Ian Hall, chief operating officer and chief financial officer for the Administrative Services Group, told the governing bodies the budget anticipates the PC(USA) losing about 4.5% of its membership each of the two years. That’s the historical average of membership loss dating back 10 years, Hall said.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of resources,” Hall said. “$90 million [annually] can do a lot of ministry.”

Upon passage, the Rev. Michelle Hwang, co-chair of the PMAB, called it “a historic moment in the life of our entities.”

The Rev. Dr. Dave Davis, who serves on both COGA and the Unification Commission, led those gathered in a prayer of thanksgiving after they’d sung “Spirit of the Living God” a cappella, substituting “us” for “me.”

“By your grace and in your Spirit, we are instruments of praise,” Davis told the Almighty, “working through leaders who have been called to serve you, people who live their life before you and ask for a vision from you to look forward.”

“It’s in the sure and present hope of the resurrection power of you, O Lord Jesus Christ, that we dare to be confident in our church’s future … We pray for the decisions that have been made and the work that’s gone into it. We pray you will continue to make a way.”

“We pray for the incredible reach of your church around the world, reflected in something mundane as a budget that actually tells of ministry profound and broad,” Davis said.

“Holy One, we dare not leave these tables without praying for one another and expressing gratitude for the discipleship that goes on around us, and for the love and trust that comes from you,” he said. “With open eyes, we give thanks for these people, called by you to bless and serve the church.”

More reporting on this week’s joint meeting will be available on on Wednesday.

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