Today, the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved budgets of $82,097,234 for 2011, and $80,550,613 for 2012. These are in contrast to a 2010 budget of about $93.8 million.
"Our role is changing from doing mission on behalf of the church to inspiring, equipping and connecting the church for mission and ministry," said Linda Valentine, GAMC executive director. "At the same time, God calls us to look at our resources honestly. We must be sure we live within our means to sustain ministry into the future."
A year-long strategic discernment initiative and budget realities were identified as the primary drivers for the development of the new plan. "The 2011-12 GAMC Plan and Budget answers a bold call — to discern and live into the future God intends for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)," Valentine said. "This plan reflects healthy change that is adaptive to trends in the church and the world, and that is consistent with projected resources."
"We have lower budgets because of shifts in giving patterns — while Presbyterians are giving more to mission than ever before, they are supporting many organizations, both within and outside the church," said Joey Bailey, chief financial officer. "Sustainability is our goal. To that end we’ve projected lower revenues for 2011 and 2012, and have also given consideration to 2013 and beyond."
The budget and plan approved by the council includes a number of measures based on recommendations from GAMC leadership. Among them:
- World Mission has completed a comprehensive strategy process and will be dramatically reshaped as a result. No mission personnel are being recalled, though, and the percentage of the GAMC budget dedicated to mission sending increases from 11% to 13%.
- Congregational Ministries Publishing will be re-organized in order to be financially self-supporting in all English language curriculum and educational resources beginning in 2011. Self-support is achieved through a continuation of increased sales coupled with decreased costs that bring CMP into alignment with religious publishing standards. The GAMC will support the net cost of Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, and Braille curriculum.
- We will no longer maintain separate offices for Korean ministry in the Evangelism and Church Growth and Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries areas. Some functions and funding will be combined, while other functions will conclude. Evangelism and Church Growth will continue its focus on the health and vibrancy of congregations. An associate for theology will be refocused on issues of "ministry from the margins," with particular focus on second generation new immigrant ministries. Curriculum will continue to be published in Korean.
- Staffing levels are being reduced in Shared Services and Communications and Funds Development to reduce costs and eliminate duplication of functions.
- Support to synods and presbyteries through national mission partnership funds was not reduced.
There will be a net reduction of 49 positions within the GAMC. 73.5 incumbent positions were eliminated. Among these are 12 staff members who accepted voluntary separation packages offered in April, and 12 additional positions that were vacant. Because of the strategic reshaping of the GAMC and positions left vacant by acceptance of voluntary separation packages, 24.5 new positions have been added. Fifteen of the impacted employees will be offered new positions. Following these changes, the staff of the GAMC will total 341. Most of the reductions are concentrated in Congregational Ministries Publishing, and in the areas of Shared Services, and Communications and Funds Development.
"While it is crucial for us to change how we do ministry and how we use our resources, we never forget that behind the decisions are the lives and livelihoods of colleagues and friends," said Valentine. "I am grateful for the dedicated work of all of our employees. In particular, I want to personally thank those who are leaving us for their faithful service to the church."
All employees whose positions were eliminated will be offered separation packages that include notice pay, severance, and outplacement service.
In other business, the GAMC confirmed the call of the Rev. Roger Dermody as deputy executive director for mission, and were introduced to the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, the new director of public witness for the Washington office. The GAMC also heard an update on the work of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in Haiti.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) serves more than 2 million members in mission and ministry in approximately 10,000 congregations throughout the United States and around the world. National offices are located in Louisville, Ky.