Saving for Saturday two potentially contentious issues, the Moving Forward/Vision 2020 on Friday approved with some amendments five of the eight items contained in MOV-02, the report of the Moving Forward Implementation Special Committee.
Beginning at 8:15 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, the committee is scheduled to take up Recommendation 1, which seeks to move Mission Engagement and Support from the Presbyterian Mission Agency to the Administrative Services Group with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A corporation. It’s also scheduled to address Recommendation 6, which would change the allocation of unrestricted bequests and gifts between the PMA and the Office of the General Assembly from the current 80/20 ratio to a 50/50 distribution rate.
Implementing all of the special committee’s recommendations carries estimated costs of $250,000 in 2023 and $250,000 in 2024.
Two members of the special committee, the Rev. Debra Avery and the Rev. Eric Beene, presented the committee’s report. Avery said the special committee hopes that adoption and implementation of its recommendations helps bring about a denomination:
That’s “unified in vision and mission implementation”
That’s “streamlined and sustainable”
That “models coordination, collaboration and cooperation”
That “provides support for mid councils, deepens our global mission and ecumenical partnerships and supports the ministries of congregations.”
Recommendation 8, one of the six recommendations the committee considered on Friday, was referred to the Office of the General Assembly. That recommendation directed the OGA to add the Way Forward Commission’s 2018 action on Trust and Transparency as an appendix to the Manual of the General Assembly.
Here's a brief look at the five recommendations to receive committee approval on Friday:
Recommendation 2 directs the Administrative Services Group to continue its assessment of technology capabilities and needs and to address increased technology investments through future budgeting processes. That assessment has been going on since March, A Corp President Kathy Lueckert told the committee. “We have disinvested in technology over the last 10 years,” she said. “We hope to use this assessment to help us reverse that.”
Recommendation 3 directs the PMA Board to eliminate its Legal and Property Committee. The Rev. Ken Godshall, who formerly chaired the committee for the PMA Board, said the board has been adjusting its committee structure and has already eliminated that committee.
Recommendation 4 affirms and ratifies the administrative action taken by the Moving Forward Implementation Commission clarifying the A Corp Board’s responsibility over litigation. That too has been resolved, said Mike Kirk, the PC(USA)’s general counsel.
Recommendation 5 was discussed at length and amended. It recommends the assembly direct the convening of the Coordinating Table, which has been meeting the past couple of years, to meet at least quarterly. It defines the table as “a discussion group for communicating among the agencies and entities” of the PC(USA). “I do believe you can trust the leadership here,” said the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the PMA. The executives of the PC(USA)’s agencies and entities are meeting monthly “to share and develop relationships,” Moffett said. “You can mandate something, but know this: We understand the importance of coming together and collaborating.”
Recommendation 7 directs agency and entity heads to continue the work of the Diverse Voices Table, which the special committee said is a table taking on “important work of inclusion and equity.
The Moving Forward/Vision 2020 Committee then returned to work on MOV-01 begun on Thursday, approving two items recommended by the 2020 Vision Team. Item 4 is on appointing an Implementation Team to introduce the Guiding Statement approved by the committee Friday and integrate it into the life of the denomination.
Item 5 commends the PMA and the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly to recommend to the 228th General Assembly (2028) that it consider forming a 2030 Vision Team.
On Friday morning, Commissioner Christina Gleason of New Castle Presbytery, a member of the committee, submitted the 1,000th motion since committee meetings began June 19. Committee members cheered the announcement, made by committee parliamentarian the Rev. William Wildhack.