Responding to two overtures raising concerns about the administration of the Jarvie Commonweal Fund, Committee 13 of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) issued a call for reconciliation.
Later, the committee passed almost unanimously a substitute motion asking the GA223 co-moderators to form a team to identify and engage all parties in a peacemaking and reconciliation process and report back to the 224th Assembly.
The fund was established in 1925 by a wealthy lifelong Presbyterian, James N. Jarvie, to aid older adult Presbyterians in the New York City area “who in their declining years find themselves without sufficient means of support.”
The original overtures had called for the creation of an administrative commission or special committee. Advocates of those overtures and six speakers at an open hearing cited concerns about a lack of openness, accountability and compliance with donor intentions on the part of the Presbyterian Foundation, which administers the Jarvie fund.
Most speakers at the open hearing affirmed the Foundation’s administration of Jarvie and noted that the concerns raised by the overtures had been addressed multiple times by both secular and church bodies, including the 222nd General Assembly. The speakers included the Rev. Marjory Roth, who was hired last year as the first full-time chaplain Jarvie beneficiaries.
Several speakers said creating a special committee or commission would be “a huge waste of church resources.” A report on financial implications indicated the reconciliation team proposed by Committee 13 would cost about $46,200, while an administrative commission would cost about $151,000.
The committee voted to commemorate the Jarvie Commonweal Service’s 90th anniversary and affirm the work of the program.
In other actions, Committee 13:
- Responded to a commissioners’ resolution proposing a jubilee declaration for church mortgage grants passing a substitute encouraging the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Presbyterian Development and Loan Program to consider forgiveness of mortgage grants established in 1968 or earlier only to congregations closing and turning over their assets to presbyteries, and not to churches leaving the denomination.
- Voted to affirm the election of the Rev. Thomas F. Taylor to a third term as president and CEO of the Presbyterian Foundation, and to confirm Karen L. Garrett as director of the New Covenant Trust Company, a Foundation subsidiary.
- Applauded the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation’s contribution of more than 1,500 copies of the Presbyterian Hymnal in Spanish to churches in Puerto Rico devastated by last year’s Hurricane Maria.