Commissioners to the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Thursday instructed the denomination’s mission agency to close the pay gap between its highest- and lowest-paid employees.

The current ratio is 6.04:1, moving to 5.8:1 next year. Commissioners approved, 406-133, an overture from the Presbytery of Newton instructing the Presbyterian Mission Agency to move the ratio to 5:1, beginning with new positions, in “a reasonable amount of time.”

The presbytery, noting that highest-to-lowest PMA salary ratios in recent years have approached 7.5:1, said a move to 5:1 would be a “partial return to earlier policy, and a practical embodiment of missional  solidarity.”

The assembly also approved a recommendation from the Special Offerings Review Task Force to extend from 2020 to 2025 its fund-raising goal of $20 million a  year; to maintain status quo distributions to ministries for 2018-2021; and to maintain funding to the remaining Historically Presbyterian Racial Ethnic Institutions at the current percentages of the Christmas Joy Offering. The recommendation also allocates funds from HPREIs that no longer qualify for funding to support and advance racial-ethnic leadership development.

The resolution “On taking specific action to address the worsening plight of the African American male” was approved with an amendment asking pilot-project presbyteries in five cities to fund the cost.

Earlier Thursday, Luis Ocasio-Torres of Presbiterio De San Juan, Vice-Moderator of the Mission Coordination committee, said the panel had increased its estimates of the financial implications “after careful review of items” in approved and pending resolutions. The committee estimated financial impacts to the PMA at $285,070 for 2017 and $251,642 for 2018.

Orcasio-Torres said the projected 2017 and 2018 PMA budgets of $63,530,297 and $63,450,591, respectively, would have to be supplemented by “additional funding sources or reductions in staff or grant awards” to pay for the increases.