As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) continues to settle into a new organizational structure at the General Assembly level, the Moving Forward Implementation Commission has taken action on who is responsible for legal matters involving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. The commission met in closed session on Sunday night and announced on Monday that the Board of the PC(USA), A Corporation, has authority on church litigation.
In a memo to the co-chairs of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board this morning, the commission said it had voted to “immediately suspend the Manual of Operation of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board” specifically related to roles and responsibilities of the Board of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, the corporate entity for both the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The action taken was to “prevent immediate and future obstruction in the work and responsibilities” of A Corporation.
The commission further voted to add an amendment to the Manual of Operations, which included:
- When the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, is a party in litigation, then the Board of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, has sole responsibility to engage, instruct, and direct outside counsel and manage the litigation unless it delegates that responsibility by specific board action.
- In any secular action or litigation in which Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the General Assembly, or the Stated Clerk is named as a defendant, the proper party to respond to litigation and to seek to be substituted as the named party to defend the litigation is the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. The Board of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, will in all such instances consult with the entity or officer incorrectly named before taking such action.
The commission also plans to bring the language as a proposed amendment to the General Assembly Organization for Mission at the 224th General Assembly (2020) being held in Baltimore.
The commission calls on the PMA Board of Directors to immediately comply with its directives.
The PMA Board is scheduled to hold a closed meeting on June 27th.