Mission Presbytery, a mid-council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) based here, awarded special grants at its recent gathering to strengthen ties between Presbyterians. At a time when some congregations have chosen to leave the denomination, the presbytery awarded the grants to reaffirm its belief that the presbytery and its member congregations are “Better Together.” With funds received from the recent settlement agreement with First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, the Presbytery elected to strengthen the bonds between those who have chosen to stay and witness together to the grace and love of God in Jesus Christ.
The Presbytery received a total of $1,525,000 in the agreement. Twenty-two percent (22%) of the funds, or $239,000, were earmarked for immediate use to cover legal fees ($114,000), 2016 operating expenses ($100,000) and a grant of $125,000 to John Knox Ranch, the presbytery-owned camp, which the departing church agreed to match.
Forty percent (40%) of the funds, or $607,000, will be used to create the “Better Together Fund,” an attempt to foster collaboration within the presbytery between its member congregations. Congregations and local missions will be invited to apply for funding after obtaining sponsorship from a standing committee of the presbytery and final approval by the presbytery’s General Council. Additional details surrounding the allocation of these funds has been assigned to the Better Together Fund Task Force.
Twenty-three percent (23%) of the funds, or $351,000, were used to support the presbytery’s existing committees and task forces charged with building up the presbytery’s member congregations and their common life together. Notably, the Church Development and Evangelism Committee received $119,000, the Technology Task Force received $48,000 and the Mission Outreach and Justice Committee received $36,000.
Fifteen percent (15%) of the funds, or $228,000, were used to affirm and strengthen ties with the Presbyterian Church (USA), including $30,000 grants for the denomination’s Synod of the Sun and General Assembly. Historic mission partners in covenant relationship with the PC(USA) through the Synod of the Sun, each received $24,000. These grants were awarded to the three Presbyterian related colleges in Texas -- Austin College, Schreiner University, and Trinity University) -- as well as Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, MO Ranch, Pan American School, and Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services.
“Quite simply,” said Sallie Watson, General Presbyter, “we firmly believe we are better together!”
Mission Presbytery’s office is located at 7201 Broadway St. Suite 303, San Antonio, TX 78209. For more information contact Sallie Watson, (210) 826-3296.