(OGA) The special committees reviewing the current per-capita based system of funding and reviewing national church financial sustainability have been combined into one, fifteen-member special committee by Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri and Cindy Kohlmann, Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly (2018). The combined special committee allows the opportunity to facilitate efficiency and leverage the information needed by both groups while still providing necessary members and expertise for each discrete function.

The Special Committee on Per-Capita Based Funding and National Church Financial Sustainability will be charged with both tasks and report to the 224th General Assembly (2020). Cintrón-Olivieri and Kohlmann have appointed Laura Cheifetz and Valerie Young to serve as co-moderators of the special committee.

Laura Cheifetz , Co Moderator (Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky)
Valerie Young, Co-Moderator (Presbytery of Grace)
Janira Colón (Presbytery of Central Florida)
Debi Davis (Presbytery of Florida)
Paul Helphinstine (Presbytery of Holston)
Mark Hong (Presbytery of Los Ranchos)
Diane Kenning (Presbytery of Plains and Peaks)
Scott Lumsden (Presbytery of Seattle)
Sarah Moore-Nokes (Presbytery of Winnebago)
Joseph A. Ngalle (Presbytery of Coastal Carolina)
Timothy N. Ngare (Presbytery of Detroit)
Jeanne Radak (Presbytery of Newton)
José Rosa-Rivera (Presbytery of San Juan)
Audrey L. Toombs (Presbytery of Mid-South)
Kevin Veldhuisen (Presbytery of South Dakota)

Staff Resource:
Denise Hampton, [email protected]
Kerry Rice, [email protected]

Recognizing the challenges ahead, Young shared, “Especially given the combination of the two charges, this is a big job. We are confident in the gifts and skills of those who have been called to serve this committee and recognize that God is calling the PC(USA) to a new way of being, together.”

Cheifetz added, “I am grateful for the willingness of the committee members to engage in this work and look forward to diving into questions in such a way that illuminates our love for the church and our hope that we may live into God’s call for our ministry and witness in the world.”

“Much of this work is about providing consolidated information to other special committees and commissions to assist in their work,” said Young. “This means gathering a huge amount of data and input from many different sources. While some of that work has already begun, one of our first tasks will be to determine what that looks like and how it gets deciphered. We ask that people pray for each of the dedicated committee members, our work together, and for all of the other General Assembly special committees currently at work.”

Cintrón-Olivieri and Kohlmann have also appointed members of the Administrative Commission to Address Issues in the Synod of the Covenant and appointed Patrice Hatley and Brady Radford as the commission’s co-moderators.

Patrice Hatley, Co-Moderator (Presbytery of Tampa Bay)
Brady Radford, Co-Moderator (Presbytery of Greater Atlanta)
Michelle Johnson (Presbytery of Tropical Florida)
Susan Krummel (Presbytery of Chicago)
Ben McConaughy (Presbytery of Seattle)
Adel Malek (Presbytery of Los Ranchos)
Richard Rojas (Presbytery of San Juan)
Elona Street-Stewart (Presbytery of Twin Cities Area)

Staff Resource:
Flor Vélez-Díaz, [email protected]
Jihyun Oh, [email protected]

“My hope for the administrative commission, formed to address significant tension between leaders in the Synod of the Covenant and its presbytery leaders, is that we will seek to cultivate calm, connected leadership, reconciliation, healing, strengthened relationships, and a redefined sense of unity between synod and presbyteries,” said Hatley. “I expect we will place a well-established theological framework around the conversations and decisions in which we will engage. I also hope we can come away from this effort having honored the diversity inherent in the body of Christ. The persons appointed to serve on this administrative commission are well-gifted in faith-based conflict resolution, and I look forward to serving with them. Starting this work during Lent certainly gives pause to our own reflections on penance and suffering, even to the broken body of Jesus.”

Work has begun on two groups appointed by the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns—the Advocating for Black Girls and Women Task Group and Task Force Investigating the Need for an Advocacy Committee for LGBTQIA+ Concerns.

Kerri N. Allen, moderator of the Advocating for Black Girls and Women Task Group stated, “I believe that we are in an important moment in the life of the PC(USA) where we’re taking seriously the structural sin of racism. Too often this work ignores the lived experiences of black girls and women. No institution has clean hands, but we can do the ongoing work of creating a more just church and society. That is our focus—to investigate and offer concrete proposals on how the denomination might take the plight of black women and girls seriously.”

Kerri N. Allen, Moderator (Presbytery of Chicago)
Carmen J. Alexander (Presbytery of Pittsburgh)
Ashley DeTar Birt (Presbytery of New York City)
Lakesha S. Bradshaw Easter (Presbytery of National Capital)
Samantha Paige Davis (Presbytery of Pittsburgh)

Staff Resource:
Shanea D. Leonard, [email protected]

The Task Force Investigating the Need for an Advocacy Committee for LGBTQIA+ Concerns is composed of people of different ages, races, and gender and sexual identities, who are serving the church in creative ways.

“We will gather stories, dive into our history, and present a future vision for LGBTQIA+ Presbyterians,” shared M. Shea McGinnis, who moderates the task force. “We hope to bring awareness to the particular experiences of people of color and queer youth, as well as to bring healing to our denomination.”

M. Shea McGinnis, Moderator (Presbytery of Greater Atlanta)
Daniel Hammer (Presbytery of Seattle)
Quantisha Mason (Presbytery of Chicago)
Nathan Sobers (Presbytery of Riverside)
Julianna Whitson (Presbytery of Arkansas)

Staff Resource:
Courtney J. Hoekstra, [email protected]

The Co-Moderators and other appointing groups continue to develop a diverse pool of applicants from which appointments may be made. There is a need for more persons of colors, church members, deacons, and ruling elders, persons under 46, and those west of the Mississippi. For more information, please contact Valerie Izumi.

by Valerie Izumi, Office of the General Assembly