PITTSBURGH, July 1 –The Mission Coordination Committee of the 220th General Assembly dug right into its work in a late Sunday evening meeting here. The committee heard reports from denominational leaders and recommended that the assembly approve name changes for agencies responsible for implementing the day-to-day work of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
If the assembly approves the change later this week, the elected General Assembly Mission Council will become the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, and the staff of the General Assembly Mission Council will become known as the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Mike Kruse, a ruling elder who is finishing a term as chair of the General Assembly Mission Council, outlined for the commissioners the need to drop the word “council,” since that term is now reserved in the denomination’s new Form of Government for what used to be called “governing bodies.” Kruse and Roger Dermody, the denomination’s deputy director for mission, said focus groups, consultants and other conversation groups had considered alternative possibilities for names, with a consensus emerging that these proposed titles were best.
Commissioners did raise questions, with one saying the terms sound too bland and straight from the 1950s.
Another said, “I’m from the Presbytery of Mission, and therein lies my problem.” Ever since the General Assembly Mission Council unveiled the proposed new titles several months ago, members of his Texas presbytery have raised concerns the change will create confusion about the relationship among the entities, from where documents originated, and more.
Nevertheless, the Mission Coordination Committee approved the proposal by a vote of 47 – 3.
The committee also voted to retain the name of the Advisory Committee on Racial Ethnic Concerns. In 2004 the ACREC group proposed changing its name to more inclusively represent immigrant peoples. After considering options throughout the intervening years, the same committee finally determined that their existing name is the best option, so recommended leaving it as is.
In other business, the Mission Coordination Committee approved editorial changes to the Manual of Operations and the Organization for Mission, mostly reflecting changes in the denomination’s Form of Government. Also, Linda Valentine, executive director of the General Assembly Mission Council, presented an overview of the denomination’s proposed
Mission Work Plan and Budget for the next four years.