From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Publishing Corporation Asks Review Committee
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
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
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
"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
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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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