From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Publishing Corporation Asks Review Committee

Date 04 May 1996 16:06:08


96119      Publishing Corporation Asks Review Committee 
      to Alter Its Recommendation For Curriculum Publishing 
                         by Julian Shipp 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Concerned over the General Assembly Committee on Review's 
recommendation that "the entire curriculum enterprise of the Presbyterian 
Church (U.S.A.) be lodged in the Congregational Ministries Division (CMD) 
of the GAC," the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) has asked the 
committee to modify its recommendation. 
     In February, the GAC authorized the hiring of a consultant to work 
with the PPC board of directors and the CMD Committee to find a solution to 
problems in the two entities' partnership arrangement to develop, produce 
and distribute curriculum. The consultant's findings will be brought to the 
PPC board and to the GAC through the division committee no later than June 
1, 1996. 
     According to Price H. Gwynn III of Charlotte, N.C., PPC board chair, 
PPC is asking the Review Committee to make its recommendation contingent on 
the consultation process not producing a solution acceptable to both sides. 
April 1 was the deadline for the Review Committee's final report in order 
for it to go to the 208th General Assembly this summer in Albuquerque. 
     In a March 11 letter to Review Committee chair Julius Poppinga of the 
Synod of the Northeast, Gwynn said PPC has two reasons for making its 
"urgent request." One, "the peace of the church," and two, "fairness." 
     Gwynn told the Presbyterian News Service that  many Presbyterians, 
including members of the Quadrennial Review Committee, have lamented the 
level of conflict between the GAC and other denomination entities in recent 
months. He said PPC and its elected GAC counterparts are trying to respond 
to the conflict and criticism by committing themselves to intense and 
earnest discussion and negotiations. 
     "My point is, if we can reach a solution, then I would hate to see a 
recommendation of the Quadrennial Review Committee suddenly thrown into a 
[General Assembly] commissioner committee for action and have them undo 
what we've already done and agreed to," Gwynn said. 
     "I don't want to see this issue come up in a commissioner committee if 
in fact the CMD and the PPC can come to a resolution....which I hope we 
can," Gwynn said. "If we can't, of course, then it'll have to go to 
whatever commissioner committee it goes to."  
     Gwynn said a second reason for PPC's request is fairness. He said that 
in making its recommendations, the Review Committee did not have the 
opportunity to explore the complexities of the PPC/CMD curriculum 
partnership (see the March 15, 1996, "NEWS BRIEFS" #96094) and the 
committee did not notify PPC that it would make a recommendation on 
curriculum publishing. 
     During its Feb. 22-27 meeting, the Review Committee voted 11-1 to 
recommend that the CMD and GAC assume full curriculum responsibilities. In 
its rationale for its recommendation, the committee noted that both PPC and 
CMD agree that the current partnership to develop, produce, market and 
distribute curriculum "is not viable beyond 1996." 
     The Review Committee's rationale concludes: "Providing curriculum 
materials in the final analysis is a ministry of the denomination for its 
congregations. Therefore, it should be under the sole control of the GAC 
and...of the GAC's [Congregational Ministries Division]." 
     Under the Review Committee's present recommendation, Gwynn said, PPC 
and CMD could reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, only to have the 
General Assembly commissioners produce an arrangement that "neither one of 
us likes." 
     "Once the Assembly commissioners get [the Review Committee's report] 
and they make some sort of decision, that's it," Gwynn said. "There's no 
course of recall. They theoretically could say, 
 We're going to get out of the curriculum business and shut it down.' But 
that might not be what we'd agreed to at all. Once something goes to a 
commissioner committee, you don't know what's going to come out." 
     The Rev. Zane K. Buxton, manager of judicial process in the Department 
of Constitutional Services in the Office of the General Assembly, said the 
Review Committee  received PPC's letter in time for its March 27-30 meeting 
in Louisville, Ky. 
     Betty Lou Stull, a Review Committee member from Wooster, Ohio, told 
the Presbyterian News Service on March 26 that during its February meeting 
the committee considered a motion what addressed exactly what PPC is now 
requesting, but it was defeated. 
     Stull said that by the time the Review Committee's substitute motion 
was approved, the GAC had already authorized a consultant to work with PPC 
and the GAC/CMD Committee, and that Review Committee members knew this. 
      "The action that we took at our last meeting was taken with the full 
knowledge of what the GAC and the publishing corporation had agreed to do 
at that time," Stull said. "So you can see why I would be hesitant to say 
what the committee might do in response to [PPC's] letter, because they may 
well feel that we have dealt with this with full information previously. 
And at this stage I don't know whether they would choose to reconsider it 
or not."  

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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