The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board is being asked to approve 3 percent salary increases for employees of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA).
If the board approves the measure at its meeting March 22-24 in Puerto Rico, that would give the agency’s eligible employees across-the-board salary increases of 3 percent, effective April 1, 2017. No standard salary increases were awarded in 2016. No merit raises will be awarded for 2017.
The board’s executive committee, meeting by conference call Jan. 26, approved the measure and voted to send it to the full board for its approval.
It also approved a number of changes to the agency’s employee handbook, including adding transgender status as a protected category under which employment policies and practices will be applied without discrimination. The policy now will state that the Presbyterian Mission Agency won’t discriminate:
“based upon race, color, national origin, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, transgender status, creed, protected disability status, citizenship status, genetic information, uniformed service (e.g., U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard) or status as a Vietnam Era or special disabled veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws, or veteran status, or religious affiliation (except where a category is a bona fide occupational qualification), or any other characteristic protected by law.”
Next questions. The board’s chair, Ken Godshall, also presented his ideas for the next set of questions that the board’s ministerial teams and task forces might begin working on, starting in March.
Godshall cautioned, however, that not all these questions might actually emerge as contenders. Four of the board’s current eight ministerial teams are expected to report in March and conclude their work; four others will keep working. That will leave about 15 board members available to assign to new teams – which wouldn’t be enough to cover all the proposed questions, he said.
There’s also the potential, Godshall said, that the Way Forward Commission might make decisions involving the size and structure of the board – that could have implications too.
Here are his initial thoughts, however, on what questions he might present for consideration.
For ministerial teams, those questions are:
- “What is meaningful or effective interpretation of PMA mission that results in donor generosity?”
- “How can the working relationship between PMA ministry and common service areas be surfaced and improved?” Common service areas could include legal and accounting services or other administrative services provided across ministry areas.
- “How can the Presbyterian Foundation and PMA align investment goals for the assets managed by the Foundation on our behalf?”
- “How can Presbyterian Publishing and PMA Curriculum Publishing work productively together?” That question particularly involves work on developing a common website those entities could use for sale of materials and resources.
- How to respond to General Assembly referrals? Is there a way a ministerial team could help the agency’s staff prepare PMA’s responses to referrals that need to reported back to a coming General Assembly?
For task forces, the questions Godshall is proposing would be:
- “What Mission Work Plan priorities, if any, should be established by PMA to serve the church? Currently, all areas listed in the Mission Work Plan meet the agency’s directional goals, but no preference is given among them, Godshall said. The agency may want to make it clear where it wants to focus in the future – for example, “is it hands-on mission work,” or inspiring and equipping others? What’s the best focus “during a time of change?”
- What strategies can be developed to make Stony Point Center a sustainable ministry at PMA? The board voted in April 2014 to set up a series of milestones for Stony Point to meet – with the three-year plan to end in financial self-sufficiency for Stony Point, a conference center and intentional community outside New York City, by the end of 2017. Stony Point has been meeting those benchmarks, but those don’t include major capital expenses that may be needed and aren’t in the current budget, Godshall said.
Executive committee member Joe Morrow raised a concern that this list of possible topics may be tilted more towards policy and organizational structure, and less towards mission and programmatic ideas. Morrow wondered if there might be ways to use the ministerial teams to respond “to some of the more pressing and in some ways alarming issues” in the social and political landscape.
Godshall thanked Morrow for his suggestion, and said he will take another look at the list – which he called a “work in progress” – to perhaps strike a better balance to present to the board when it meets in March.