The All Agency Review Committee approved Feb. 16 eight recommendations it will make to the 2018 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – three of them jointly with the Way Forward Commission.
The committee’s eight recommendations – some of them multipart – involve these matters.
A “new openness.” The committee asks the assembly to direct the six PC(USA) agencies to focus on the call for a new openness found in section F-1.0404 of the Book of Order, and to consider these questions in establishing work plans and budgets:
- What are the agencies’ views, collectively and individually, as to what radical obedience to Christ looks like both in times of possibility as well as in times of peril?
- What commitment to transparency in process and resources exists in each agency and in their collaborative work?
- What does it mean to say yes to some opportunities and say no to others? What do we need to celebrate and release? What do we need to celebrate and support?
- How does the agency grieve what once was beautiful, but now is no longer possible?
- What does it mean to be faithful and useful?
- What will the PC(USA) do to open wide the doors of the church to God’s amazing diversity, welcoming all ages and all expressions of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation in striving to increase the membership of our denomination and achieve the great ends of the church?
Review process. The committee wants to strengthen the process for reviewing the six agencies. The joint recommendation with Way Forward is that:
- The review process for the six agencies would take place over the course of three General Assemblies. There would be a two-year sabbatical at the start – so that a new Moving Forward Implementation Commission that the 2018 General Assembly would be asked to create would have time over the next two years to consider the proposed standards for agency review.
- The 2020 General Assembly would appoint a committee to review the work of the Board of Pensions, the Presbyterian Foundation and the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program. That review committee would report to the 2022 General Assembly.
- The 2022 General Assembly would appoint a committee to review of the work of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency. That committee would report to the 2024 General Assembly.
- The 2024 General Assembly would appoint an All Agency Review Committee. That committee would report the results of the all agency review to the 2026 General Assembly.
Moving Forward Implementation Commission. All Agency Review and the Way Forward Commission are together asking the 2018 General Assembly to create a Moving Forward Implemetation Commission. That commission would consist of four members from Way Forward, four from All Agency Review and four from the 2018 General Assembly. That commission would report back to the 2020 General Assembly.
That new commission’s work would include:
- Ensuring compliance with and implementation of any actions the 2018 assembly takes regarding the All Agency Review and Way Forward recommendations.
- Overseeing work emerging from ongoing collaborations that All Agency and Way Forward have been involved with, and from any administrative action that Way Forward takes between now and when the 2018 assembly convenes in St. Louis June 16.
- Coordinating with the 2020 Vision Team.
Shared services. The committee is asking the 2018 General Assembly to amend the Organization for Mission to include this statement:
“The value of shared services in the PCUSA exists when all agencies, carrying out their respective missions as directed by the General Assembly, collectively best serve the church with excellence, transparency and efficiency. Simultaneously, sharing any service must be accomplished without harming the safety, soundness, well-being or missional goals of any individual agency.”
Per capita. Instruct the six PC(USA) agencies to engage in a collaborative self-study of the per capita model and its ability to adequately fund the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency in the immediate and longer-term future and to explore alternative and creative funding resources for both.
The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board voted last week to ask the General Assembly for a significant increase in per capita – from $7.73 per member in 2018 to $10.71 in 2019 and to $11.45 in 2020. That would be 39 percent increase from 2018 to 2019 and a 7 percent increase from 2019 to 2020.
And the Presbytery of Newton in New Jersey has sent an overture asking the 2018 General Assembly to create a team to review the financial sustainability of the PC(USA)’s current per capita funding system.
PC(USA), A Corporation. The PC(USA), A Corporation, board governs the corporate activity of the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Together, Way Forward and All Agency Review are asking the General Assembly to reconfigure the A Corporation’s board and structure.
The joint recommendation asks the General Assembly to create a nine-person board for the A Corporation, with one representative from each of the PC(USA)’s six agencies, plus three at-large members. The A Corporation board currently has 40 voting members – the same people who serve as the voting members of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board.
The details are under intense negotiations by representatives from Way Forward, All Agency Review and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board – as J. Herbert Nelson, the PC(USA)’s stated clerk, has given permission for the groups to amend their reports on this issue after the Feb. 16 deadline.
All Agency concurred with Way Forward’s recommendations on most sections of the A Corporation recommendation, but refrained from acting on one section still part of the negotiations – a section on which some All Agency members have voiced concerns.
Commissioners’ resolutions. All Agency Review is recommending a series of changes in the assembly’s standing rules regarding commissioners’ resolutions. Those proposed changes are intended to make sure the agencies have a chance to comment on or respond to matters raised in those resolutions – comments that can’t be submitted in advance because commissioners’ resolutions aren’t filed until the assembly convenes.
Under the proposed changes, a representative of an agency that would be affected by an overture or commissioners’ resolution would be entitled to speak to that item of business. Also, the financial effect of each recommendation on any agency would be spelled out for the assembly – not just the cost to OGA or PMA.
Vision. The committee is asking the assembly to continue providing support for the vision process in the PC(USA) by:
- Receiving the report of the 2020 Vision Team and encouraging the team as it continues to discern between 2018 and 2020.
- Establishing a “representative Vision Team as part of the denominational structure that is tasked with shepherding ongoing vision discernment work, including engaging in discernment practices in collaboration with the six agencies and mid councils; bringing recommendations about that discernment to the agencies and/or General Assembly; and communicating the unified, dynamic vision to the broader church.”
All Agency Review’s report will be posted here once it is distributed.
Bear in mind: The report still must go through the Office of the General Assembly editing process before it is posted on PC-Biz, the online system the General Assembly uses.