GA226 Medallion

Hewing closely to the great motto of the Reformation, “the church reformed and always reforming,” the GA Financial Resources Committee will entertain changes to a number of current and longstanding policies, practices and programs related to finance and budgeting when it meets online June 25-27.

Among the potential changes to be considered by the committee are reducing the number of PC(USA) Special Offerings from four to three while maintaining support for all current causes, and revising the General Assembly Divestment/Proscription List that guides the corporate engagement process enacted by the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI).

For decades, MRTI has worked to engage corporations to adopt better and more just policies and practices to mitigate the escalating impact of climate change and to ensure that church investments are made only in companies engaged in peaceful pursuits in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

“A general theme of MRTI’s General Assembly business before the Financial Resources Committee is related to ‘reform,’” said Simon Doong, associate for Corporate, Community & Church Engagement in the PC(USA)’s Office of Faith-Based Investing and Shareholder Engagement, “especially regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict and discussions by many different types of institutions about what to do regarding the issue.”

In summary, FIN-01, an overture from the Presbytery of Pittsburgh, is about reforming General Electric (GE) and Palantir Technologies, Inc., by directing MRTI to begin focused engagement with the companies. FIN-02 calls for the creation of a task force to reform the 1984 policy that sets forth the Divestment Strategy of the PC(USA), while FIN-03 is about removing HP Inc. (HPQ) from the 2025 General Assembly Divestment/ Proscription list since HPQ, a legal successor of the Hewlett-Packard Company, is no longer out of compliance with church policy.

“MRTI wants to be responsive to the calls it has heard to review the [1984] policy and consider potential updates,” said Katie Carter, director of Faith-Based Investing and Shareholder Engagement for the PC(USA), referencing FIN-02. “It will also be important that the task force balance the social witness of the church with the fiduciary responsibilities of the investing agencies, something the 1984 policy does very well.”

The report of the PC(USA)’s Special Offerings Task Force is contained in FIN-12. According to the Rev. Wilson Kennedy, associate director for Special Offerings and Appeals for the PC(USA), the task force is recommending “several strategic shifts to the largest way Presbyterians come together to share Christ’s love here and around the globe.”

“The recommendations are designed to align the Offerings to the emerging structure, while creating flexibility, nimbleness, and creativity for future agency and board leadership to make mission funding decisions,” Kennedy said.

A recording of the town hall, “Exploring the Recommendations of the Special Offerings Review Task Force,” held on June 5, 2024, is available here.

In addition to reducing the number of Special Offerings from four to three, the task force’s report recommends removing specific program designations in favor of cause areas that align with giving patterns to alleviate a feeling of donor fatigue that was reported in a survey conducted by the PC(USA)’s Research Services; changing the review cycle from four years to six years to allow for the proposed Offering cycle to grow and evolve; and the creation of a grant program to support all councils (sessions, presbyteries and synods), regardless of support of the Offerings, who are engaging in ministries aligned with the values of the proposed World Communion Offering (Proposal 2.c.).

“I am grateful for the faithful and creative work of the Special Offerings Review Task Force,” said the Rev. Dr. John Wilkinson, director of Ministry Engagement and Support for the PC(USA). “Their discernment process — extensive consultations, a deep data dive and reliance on the Holy Spirit — led them to a series of recommendations, approved by the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, that both meet the needs of a changing church and continue to support vital Presbyterian mission and ministry.” 

Special Offerings will be further highlighted at GA226 with a celebration of 75 years of One Great Hour of Sharing, the single largest way that Presbyterians come together to serve individuals and communities in need. Participants are invited to provide people with safety, sustenance and hope by marking this special anniversary with a gift of $75 in support of causes enacted by the General Assembly.

In other business, the committee will hear and take action on the seven recommendations from the Presbyterian Foundation contained in FIN-08, as well as entertain FIN-06, confirmation of those named as directors of the Foundation’s subsidiary, New Covenant Trust Company, N.A.

“We are looking forward to our time in committee and sharing about the work we are doing to support congregations, ministries, and mid councils,” said Robyn Davis Sekula, vice president of Communications and Marketing for the Presbyterian Foundation. “We will focus our time on how we gather, manage, and distribute funds for Christ’s mission, and ask for the committee to approve our recommendations. Our hope is that the commissioners will find our report informative and engaging, and that they will walk away with a better sense of how we work with the entire PC(USA).”

To round out its full agenda, in FIN-13, the committee will consider approval of the 2025-2026 unifying budget for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, including the Office of the General Assembly, the Administrative Services Group, and the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The committee will also act on FIN-14, calling for the approval of a 2025-2026 General Assembly per capita apportionment rate of $10.20 for 2025, and $10.62 for 2026. These figures reflect an increase from the 2024 GA Per Capita Apportionment rate ($9.80) by 4.1% in each year, corresponding to the rate of inflation.

Finally, the committee will consider two actions related to the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, Inc. (PILP), specifically FIN-04, calling for the confirmation of the individuals named to PILP’s Board of Directors, and FIN-05, requesting confirmation of the election of Clare Lewis to the office of President and Chief Executive Officer of PILP for a four-year term.

Members will also act on FIN-11, a recommendation from the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board to form a Clergy Pay Equity Task Force, and hear a variety of reports, including FIN-INFO-04 from the Funding Model Development Team, which was appointed in December 2022 to engage both the history and complexity of how to fund the higher councils of the church.

Additional Town Hall recordings related to the Committee’s business are accessible here, including “Introduction to the Committee on Mission Responsibility and Investment (MRTI),” “Update from the Funding Model Development Team,” and “The Unifying Budget for 2025-26.”

Plenaries of The 226th General Assembly will be held on site at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, June 29–July 4.