This makes one more step down the road.
The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board voted July 19 to approve a series of bylaw changes for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, a secular corporation through which the denomination transacts business for the Presbyterian Mission Agency and Office of the General Assembly.
The actions that the board took involving the bylaws parallel the decisions regarding the A Corporation that the General Assembly made in St. Louis in June – decisions with which the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board’s Governance Task Force strongly disagreed.
The assembly, however, voted in favor of reconfiguring the structure of the A Corporation’s board. And the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, meeting by conference call July 19, approved a series of bylaw changes to match that new configuration. Also, the voting members of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board are being asked to resign their seats on the A Corporation board by July 26 – so that the new slate of A Corporation board members the assembly elected can begin their service.
The assembly voted to change the composition of the A Corporation’s board of directors, to make it an 11-member board with representation from five of the PC(USA)’s six agencies (all but the Board of Pensions), plus the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns, the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee, Presbyterian Women and three at-large members.
Up until now, the A Corporation board’s members had all been the elected members of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. The Way Forward Commission and All Agency Review Committee jointly proposed the change, with the idea of providing broader representation on the A Corporation board.
On July 19, two votes were actually taken to approve the revised bylaws – first by the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, and next by those same board members acting as the A Corporation Board.
Joe Morrow, a minister from Chicago who serves as chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, said that “dual step” was necessary and in that order – as a reflection of the historic commitment in the PC(USA) that “mission drives corporate action.” So the vote by the mission agency board came first, and the A Corporation board second.
“This is a change that has significance for our work,” Morrow said, and “these are matters we have been directed to undertake by the General Assembly.”
In June, the assembly also confirmed the election of Diane Moffett, the new president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, to that role and also as the president of the A Corporation, according to a summary of the bylaw changes provided to the board for this meeting. Moffett will serve as A Corporation president until the new A Corporation board meets and decides either to keep her in that role or elect a new president, said Mike Kirk, a lawyer for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Moffett offered greetings during this meeting, saying she started work June 11 and “there are lots of things happening.” While the transitions make for “a hard time for many,” she said, she believes “God is doing a new thing” through the PC(USA).
“It’ll be like giving birth,” Moffett said. “Birth can be bloody and messy at times. But if you keep pushing … you will be able to see something new and exciting come forth. That is my hope.”
In response to a question from board member Jeffrey Joe, Kirk explained that the A Corporation bylaw changes were drafted by the Way Forward Commission, approved by the assembly’s Way Forward Committee (with some revisions) and approved by the assembly itself. “PMA staff was not involved in those changes,” Kirk said, but is doing “the translating work” of coming up with the exact language for the bylaw changes approved at this meeting.
The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board’s coordinating committee plans to meet for a retreat August 6-8 at Stony Point Center in New York. The full board will meet Sept. 26-29 in Louisville.
The new A Corporation board has not yet scheduled its first meeting.
Read the bylaws: Bylaws
Read the executive summary: Executive Summary of bylaw amendments