The Moving Forward Implementation Commission has initiated a process for trying to develop a unified approach for budgeting for 2021-2022 – calling for a “one-day summit” on budget needs that would involve representatives from the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation.
That action – taken Oct. 17 during the commission’s two-day meeting in Baltimore – represents a continuation of conversations regarding financial sustainability in the PC(USA).
The Office of the General Assembly (OGA), which is funded through per capita dollars, is feeling financial pressure — and the PC(USA)’s stated clerk, J. Herbert Nelson, has emphasized the need to come up with a funding system that makes sure OGA has sufficient funds to do the ecclesiastical work of the denomination.
Members of the Special Committee on Per Capita Based Funding and National Church Financial Sustainability have raised the possibility of denominational restructuring and have been making the case that there’s enough money to go around in the PC(USA), but that perhaps a different system for determining how it gets spent may be needed.
So the commission’s action Oct. 17 gives a push for starting the process of trying to develop a unified budget to present to the 2020 General Assembly.
The action states that the commission will convene a group with representation from OGA, PMA and the A Corporation, “in the spirit of a new openness, to honestly and openly examine budget realities and establish a unified approach and plan for budgeting that meets the needs of both OGA and PMA for the 2021-2022 budget cycle.”
That group will include the chair and vice chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board; the moderator and vice moderator of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) and the co-chairs of the A Corporation board, along with leadership from each agency responsible for developing the specifics of a unified budget.
“Participants will be expected to be vested with the full authority of their agency or entity and to negotiate in good faith,” the action states. “The Moving Forward Implementation Commission will be represented by two of its members and provide a professional facilitator for the group.”
Eliana Maxim, a representative from COGA, told the commission that COGA wants the unified budget discussions to begin “as soon as possible,” within the next two weeks if possible. The commission’s action does not provide a timeline for when the conversation would begin.