A revised work plan of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for 2017-18 was unanimously recommended for adoption Tuesday by the 222nd General Assembly (2016), which will consider the recommendation later this week.

Noting that many structural changes are being suggested for the denomination, the PMA proposed a work plan limited to two years and  structured  around the Great Ends of the Church as those changes are discussed.

“We recognize these to be the goals of the church, because we have been redeemed and called into ministry by Jesus Christ, because we live in gratitude for the grace given to us by God, and because we understand ourselves to be joined and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be the body of Christ,” the PMA said.

“As the Presbyterian Mission Agency  in  2017-2018, we know that we are not solely responsible for the achievement of all these Great Ends. We  understand that our role is to be faithful stewards of God’s blessings by focusing only on what the church needs from the national church today, using the unique resources of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.”

The Mission Coordination commission committee adopted the plan 73-0.

In other action, the committee recommended:

  • Approval of minutes and reports from several task forces, works groups, committees and  entities.
  • That the Office of the General Assembly review its guidelines for reviewing the minutes, not updated since the 1990s, to reflect the computerized nature of the modern minutes.
  • Replacement of the 1990 General Assembly Mission Program Budget Policy and Procedures document and with the recently updated Presbyterian Mission Agency Reserve Policy.
  • Amendments to the Organization for Mission naming Presbyterian Women as a “Corporation related to the General Assembly.
  • Updated the church wide plan for equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.
  • Received a report from the Special Offerings Review Task  Force  that recommended:
  • Changing annual goal to $20 million by 2025 (was $20 million by 2020.)
    • Changing annual goal to $20 million by 2025 (was $20 million by 2020.)
    • Maintain status quo distributions to ministries for the period 2018-2021.
    • Maintain funding to the remaining Historically Presbyterian Racial Ethnic Institutions (HPREIs) at current percentages of the Christmas Joy Offering (CJO).
    • Allocate funds that have become available from HPREIs that no longer qualify for funding through the CJO to support and advance  the  work  of  racial  ethnic  and   women’s   ministry in their programs of racial ethnic leadership development
  • Revise the “missional living” mandate of the PMA in two actions:
    • Acknowledge the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s efforts, among others, to rally the church around “Living Missionally.”
    • Direct the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) to define “missional,” educate the church, identify strategies for deeper engagement, and develop tangible metrics to determine success and impact of living missionally within the context of the goals of the new Mission Work  Plan.
  • The PMA budget report from 2016, for 2017-2018 and guidance on the use of unrestricted funds.

An overture recommending “a 5:1 salary ratio between the highest-paid and lowest-paid employees of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA), beginning with new PMA positions,” was passed after considerable debate.

Two supply chain and sourcing overtures  were approved for consideration by the General Assembly.

  • On seeking to eradicate slavery from the supply chains of vendors and other businesses that the PC(USA) and its various bodies do business, encouraging church entities to hold vendors to a high standard for employment practices.
  • A resolution to ensure just compensation practices for those employed via third party contractors directing 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.

Women’s concerns received attention via two overtures approved for consideration by the general assembly.

  • The “Empowered and Hopeful” reports from the women of color consultation directs the PMA to continue its support of racial and ethnic women’s leadership institutes and continued support for women of color to attend training and professional development events.
  • A resolution to contribute to a proactive, health-giving ministry to and relationship with our clergywomen, directs the PMA to work to develop resources that address the particular challenges ordained women face in their call and placements.

The overture “On taking specific action to address the worsening plight of the African American male” passed with six amendments, one comment and more than five hours of passionate debate. Most debated was the inclusion of female or gender neutral language and funding for the initiatives specified. The two parts of the overture passed unanimously in two votes of 73-0.

A commissioner resolution “To withdraw the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from the Religious Coalition  for  Reproduction  Choice  (RCRC)” failed on a 58-13 disapproval vote. Primary rationale for its disapproval was what observer Peggy Howland called “misinformation” in the resolution and evidence that the PC(USA) does not financially contribute to the RCRC.

The last two pieces of business from Committee 10 heading to the General Assembly are: 

  • Women of Faith Awards presented by the PMA, awarded to Commissioned Ruling Elder Lucy Apatiki from Gambell, Alaska, in the Presbytery of Yukon and  the Synod of Alaska-Northwest; Ruling Elder Sarah Noble-Moag from Pavillion, New York, in the Presbytery of Genesee Valley and the Synod of the North East; and Ruling Elder Clarissa Walker Whaley, Charleston, South Carolina, in the Presbytery of  Charleston-Atlantic  and the Synod of South Atlantic.
  • Sam and Helen Walton Awards to Camino de Vida, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Synod of the Southwest, Presbytery of Santa Fe (2015, $35,000); The Fellowship Place, Charlotte, North Carolina, Synod of the Mid- Atlantic, Presbytery of Charlotte (2015, $35,000); Northland Village Church, Los Angeles, California, Synod of Southern California and Hawaii, Presbytery of San Fernando (2015, $35,000); and First Thai-Laotian Presbyterian Church, Synod of the Pacific, Presbytery of Nevada (2016, $50,000)