LOUISVILLE – The executive committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency board met behind closed doors April 27 to discuss a proposed mission budget for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) The full board is expected to discuss the budget proposal April 28, and to vote on it later that day.
The proposed mission budget for 2017 and 2018 includes a 15 percent decrease from the 2016 budget, and is expected to result in job losses for fewer than 10 employees from the Presbyterian Mission Agency national staff.
The budgets being proposed – of $63.53 million for 2017 and of $63.45 million for 2018 – are more than $11.2 million less than the revised mission budget for 2016 of $74.82 million. The plan calls for the budgets to be balanced without pulling any funds from unrestricted reserves, and for unrestricted reserves to be set aside to cover about three months of operating expenses.
The executive committee did hear a brief presentation from chief financial officer Earline Williams in open session.
Williams pointed out that:
- 80 percent of the PC(USA) now comes from restricted revenue – money that donors have designed for specific uses.
- Unrestricted revenue now is half of what it was nine years ago. The budget proposals for 2017 and 2018 were developed without pulling any funds from unrestricted reserves, Williams said, meaning the Presbyterian Mission Agency is “living within our means.”
Ken Godshall, a teaching elder from Kentucky who is scheduled to become chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency board this summer, said the revenue goals in the proposed budgets “are not aspirational” – meaning based on hopes for fundraising – but on historic revenue trends for the denomination. Godshall was speaking on behalf of a board team that’s been in close conversation with Tony De La Rosa, interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, as the budget was being developed this year.
There’s been an emphasis, Godshall said, on treating Presbyterian Mission Agency employees properly – by not filling vacancies, knowing that budget cuts were coming; by offering a voluntary separation package that 26 workers took earlier this year; and by communicating what’s happening “in a way I understand to be unprecedented. The anxiety level has been reduced as a result of that strategy.”
Godshall added: “I’m very comfortable … that this year’s budget will work very well.”