LOUISVILLE

A revised request for an increase in the per capita rate will be considered by Committee 3 of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly, which meets June 16–23 in St. Louis. The new request, from General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II, cuts in half his original recommendation of a 39-percent increase in the per-member apportionment over the next two years.

The revised proposal recommends a 20 percent increase in the per capita rate, which now stands at $7.73. If approved, per capita would increase by 10 percent to $8.50 in 2019 and by another 10 percent to $ 9.35 in 2020 (The original ask topped out at $11.45.).

Per capita funding is the only source of revenue for General Assembly meetings. It funds the work of the Office of the General Assembly (OGA), including organizing the biennial meetings, maintaining records, the work of the Stated Clerk and Assembly Moderators, mid council relations, shared costs with the Presbyterian Mission Agency, ecumenical relations and 62% of the budget of the Presbyterian Historical Society.

The General Assembly’s 2018 per capita budget is $14,214,859. All congregations are encouraged to contribute to per capita, and participating in per capita is a constitutional requirement for presbyteries.

For more information about per capita, see http://www.pcusa.org/news/2018/5/30/compromise-results-smaller-capita-increase-request/

Committee 3 will also consider several revisions to the standing rules that guide General Assembly procedures. Goals of the revisions include reducing time spent in public hearings (03-13) and plenary (03-10) while ensuring that committees hear various points of view from experts asked to speak (03-12).

The General Assembly Committee on Representation (GACOR) is asking the Assembly to add two at-large members to its number, restoring its membership to 16 (03-06). GACOR is also seeking to become more involved in the review of GA agencies and to serve as a resource for finding nominees to serve on various bodies related to the PC(USA).

Because the number of commissioners participating in General Assembly meetings has decreased (to 538 this year), and standing rules require a 3:1 ratio of commissioners to advisory delegates, the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly is recommending  reducing the number of Theological Student Advisory Delegates (TSADS) from 28 to 15 (03-13). The recommendation also would allow PC(USA) ministry candidates attending seminaries not related to the PC(USA) to apply for TSAD positions.  

Other business before the General Assembly Procedures Committee:  

  • A recommendation to bar staff members of PC(USA) agencies from serving as elected members of committees, commissions, or special committees and commissions unless otherwise designated by the General Assembly
  • Replacement questions for the Session Annual Statistical Report
  • A proposal that Salt Lake City (The Presbytery of Utah) be the site of the 226th General Assembly, June 29–July 6, 2024
  • Reelection of three OGA staff members as Associate Stated Clerks and election of two new Associate Stated Clerks
  • A request to approve the Administrative Personnel Association, the Educator Certification Committee and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians as national certifying bodies.

 Shane Whisler is a minister member of Grace Presbytery pursuing a master’s degree in social work. He is covering Assembly Committee 3 for the General Assembly News.