The question is this: will the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board support a proposal that calls for spending at least $10.3 millionon capital improvements at Stony Point Center over the next decade?
Also part of the proposal: Spend $300,000 over the next three years for additional staffing for Stony Point, and another $75,000 in a capital campaign feasibility study.
The answer to how much support there is for the plan likely will come to light when the board votes on the first part of the proposal at its meeting Sept. 26-28 – a meeting actually being held at Stony Point, just north of New York City.
No clear answer emerged Sept. 13, during a webinar called to give board members a chance to learn more about the proposal and to ask questions. A few board members voiced enthusiasm about the proposal – for example, Kathy Maurer, who served on a board task force on Stony Point, said: “I’m really excited about the direction.”
One in particular – Ken Godshall, a pastor from Kentucky – asked a series of questions.
Among them: what role does property ownership play in all this? If the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) does not fully own the Stony Point property, does it make sense to “invest $10 million in a program we cannot fully control?” Godshall asked. Put another way: does the board want to invest $10.3 million in capital improvements to property for which the ownership is complex – so if things didn’t go well, the PC(USA) couldn’t just sell the property and take the proceeds.
Godshall also asked “is Stony Point in and of itself a high priority ministry, a low priority ministry, or something in between?”
“It’s a high priority,” and is on the journey to becoming even a higher one, said Ray Jones, director of Theology, Formation and Evangelism for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Jones leads a Stony Point Round Table, which the board authorized creating last spring, along with the hiring of Run River Enterprises, a consulting firm, asking that a recommendation be brought to the board’s meeting this month.
The board won’t have to make the decision all at once. The capital improvements would be done in phases. What the board is being asked this month is to:
- Adopt the new vision for Stony Point.
- Realign Stony Point center within the Presbyterian Mission Agency structure and begin to implement the staffing plan (with financial implications of $300,000 over three years – or $100,000 in each of the next three years);
- Authorize a feasibility study for capital and endowment campaigns, at a cost of $75,000.
How much money could be spent on capital improvements would depend on how much could be raised in a capital campaign, Jones said. One goal of the feasibility study is to help to answer that.