The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has issued the following statement regarding the resolution of employment issues following the results of an independent investigation into the incorporation and funding of a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation by PC(USA) evangelism and church growth staff.
Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Statement
June 1, 2015
At its April meeting, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board empowered attorney John Sheller to work with the Executive Committee and Executive Director to take appropriate steps to resolve employment issues with four staff following the 2013 creation of an independent corporation related to the Presbyterian Centers for New Church Innovations, Inc. The four employees are no longer with the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Because this is a private personnel matter, we cannot provide any other details. These four individuals have made significant contributions to the Presbyterian Mission Agency and to the wider denomination over the years. They have been and continue to be faithful servants of the church.
Rev. Marilyn S. Gamm
Chair, Presbyterian Mission Agency Board
No details were given to the nature of the employee separations and, due to employee confidentiality concerns, the final report produced by the independent investigation is not expected to be released publicly.
The Finance and Accounting office of the PC(USA) reports paid administrative leave for the four employees, including salary and benefits, from November 14, 2014 until their separations is approximately $242,000. The total cost of legal fees for the investigation, across several legal firms, is estimated at $850,000.
Costs of the administrative leave and legal fees will be allocated from the unrestricted reserves of the Presbyterian Mission Program Fund (PMPF). The resultant reduction in available reserves is expected to affect future budgeting cycles as early as fall 2016.
In the six-month period of the investigation, the 1001 Worshiping Communities initiative has added 42 communities to its roster while 26 have ceased to function as worshiping communities. As of this writing, there are 279 new worshiping communities active in 113 presbyteries.
Editor's update from the June 1, 2015, 4:00pm EST conference call held with Marilyn Gamm, John Sheller and Linda Valentine, Presbyterian Mission Agency executive director:
During the call, Valentine said there were no immediate plans to replace employees no longer with the PMA. She noted the dedication of staff that provided mission support for the “temporary arrangement” in place during the investigation, saying the PMA “will decide if we make any changes going forward” in the near future.
When asked how the work of the 1001 Worshiping Congregations initiative would continue, Valentine said, “We have made changes to processes and systems … The fundamental mission continues.
“It’s been a difficult matter for all concerned,” she said of the investigation and interim leadership. “I’m grateful for the staff who’ve helped and stepped in to carry on the mission.”
An email to PC(USA) staff, which included Gamm’s statement, included comments from Valentine in which she said, “We will continue to stay focused on executing God’s mission throughout the world. The temporary organizational changes that have been in place since November will continue while we move forward. I am thankful for your hard work and continued dedication to our important work.”