PC(USA) General Assembly Committee 10 Preview

Mission Coordination committee discusses mission programs, policies

May 23, 2016

LOUISVILLE

More than a dozen items will be debated by the Mission Coordination committee for referral to the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) meeting June 18-25, 2016 in Portland, Oregon.

The committee receives overtures and reports on matters related to mission programs authorized by the General Assembly, PC(USA) vision and mission goals, Organization for Mission and Presbyterian Mission Agency Manual of Operations, mission budget, audits, churchwide compensation, initiatives on church growth and the 1001 Worshiping Communities program.

Overture 10-01, “On Seeking to Eradicate Slavery from the Supply Chains of Vendors and Other Businesses That the PC(USA) and Its Various Bodies Do Business,” encourages Presbyterian entities to inquire about supply chain practices for vendors and companies in which the church invests or does business with to ensure these companies do not engage in unfair labor practices, including slavery.

Overture 10-03, proposed by the Presbytery of Pittsburgh, with concurrences by the presbyteries of Charleston-Atlantic, Lake Erie, New York City, Upper Ohio Valley and Western Reserve, seeks to, “Take specific action, not just in word, but also in deed, to address and improve the worsening plight of the African American male in five specified cities as a pilot initiative pointing toward future and further nationwide intervention.” Pilot cities include Baltimore, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; New York, New York; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Item 10-05 asks the General Assembly to rescind the 1990 “General Assembly Mission Program Budget Policy and Procedures,” which includes specific ratios regulating the Presbyterian Mission Program Fund, and replace it with a “Presbyterian Mission Agency Reserve Policy.” Two major changes include the provision that the “restricted reserve fund will not be used to manage projected operating budget shortfalls” and granting the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board the approval power over the use, minimum levels and allocations to the restricted reserve fund.

Item 10-07 asks the Assembly to approve the revised Churchwide Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Plan, now titled “Toward Inclusiveness in Employment: The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Churchwide Policy for Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action for General Assembly Agencies.” The renamed and revised document offers a broader set of protections and prohibits discrimination based on “race/ethnicity, color, national origin, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, creed, protected disability status, citizenship status, genetic information, uniformed service or veteran status or religious, or any other characteristic protected by law; and to correct any existent patterns of discrimination.”

In consultation with the Advocacy Committee on Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC), where the phrase “equal employment opportunity” was found in the document, the phrase has been revised to read “equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.”

Item 10-08 is the “Report of the Special Offerings Review Task Force.” The report asks the General Assembly to “revise the $20 million by 2020 [annual] goal for Special Offerings receipts to $20 million by 2025 as the aspiration of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” The report also asks the Assembly to affirm the current distribution allocations for each of the offerings, to maintain funding to the remaining historically Presbyterian racial ethnic institutions (HPREIs) at current percentages, and to distribute “funds that have become available from HPREIs that no longer qualify for funding through the [Christmas Joy Offering] to support and advance the work of racial ethnic and women’s ministry in their programs of racial ethnic leadership development.”

Item 10-09, “Empowered & Hopeful”—Women of Color Consultation Report, asks the Presbyterian Mission Agency, through the work of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries to “continue to sponsor racial ethnic and women’s leadership institutes to develop women of color leaders in the church, so that they will have opportunities to serve fully in ministry and leadership; and to continue to provide and support opportunities for women of color to attend trainings and professional development events.”

Item 10-10 asks the General Assembly to acknowledge the work of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s work in rallying the church around the theme of “Living Missionally” while releasing it from the directives “to develop tangible metrics to determine success and impact,” and “identify strategies for deeper engagement.” Instead, the Mission Agency asks the Assembly to affirm Item 10-14, the 2017-2018 Presbyterian Mission Agency Work Plan.

Item 10-11, “A Resolution to Contribute to a Proactive, Health-Giving Ministry to and Relationship with Our Clergywomen,” sponsored by the Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns, seeks to direct the Presbyterian Mission Agency to sponsor events and provide support for clergywomen. The recommendations include annual gatherings, listening groups, virtual work groups, mentoring, coaching, and provide theological resources to support the ministries of women. It also asks “the six denominational agencies to collaboratively create and share the expense of new leadership development opportunities for all clergywomen.”

Item 10-12, “A Resolution to Ensure Just Compensation Practices for Those Employed via Third Party Contractors,” also sponsored by the Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns, asks “the six agencies of the General Assembly to develop standards that take into account and protect the wages and fringe benefits of outsourced employees based on Presbyterian theology and policy on work and workers.”

Overture 10-13, “On Achieving a 5:1 Ratio Between the Highest-Paid and Lowest-Paid Employees of PMA,” is sponsored by the Newton Presbytery. It asks the General Assembly to “establish the goal of achieving, in a reasonable period of time, a 5:1 ratio between the highest-paid and lowest-paid employees of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA), beginning with new PMA positions, understanding this to be a partial return to earlier policy and a practical embodiment of missional solidarity.”

A comment from the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board to this goal says, in part, “[the PMA] compensation range has nonetheless narrowed from 7.5:1 (in 2010) to 6:1 (in 2015)—a level that is very comparable to, or less than, the actual ratios between the lowest paid and highest paid employee for each of the other General Assembly agencies, even though some of the lowest paid positions in the General Assembly offices are within the Presbyterian Mission Agency.”

Item 10-14, the “2017-2018 Presbyterian Mission Agency Work Plan,” establishes a two-year guideline for the work of the Mission Agency based on the mission:  “Inspire, equip, and connect the PC(USA) in its many expressions to serve Christ in the world through new and existing communities of faith, hope, love, and witness.”

Key to the PMA Work Plan are the directional goals that are to guide managers, employees and the PMA Board in its work: Evangelism & Discipleship, Servant Leader Formation and Justice & Reconciliation, based on the core values of “Faith, Compassion, Accountability, Teamwork, Dedication, Service, [and] Justice.”

Item 10-04 is a minor revision to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Manual of Operations. Item 10-06 amends the Organization for Mission to include a distinction between “Other General Assembly Corporations,” including agencies of the denomination, and “Corporations Related to the General Assembly,” such as Presbyterian Women. Item 10-A recognizes Commissioned Ruling Elder Lucy Apatiki, Ruling Elder Sarah Noble-Moag, and Ruling Elder Clarissa Walker Whaley as the Women of Faith award recipients at the 222nd General Assembly.

Other committee items include minutes from the PC(USA), A Corp. meeting; the final audit report; a Report of Changes to the Appendices of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Manual of Operations; a Report of the Presbyterian Mission Agency on Current Task Forces, Work Groups, and Ad Hoc Committees; and the Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity Report of Progress.