From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Publishing Corporation Recommends That The GAC

Date 04 May 1996 16:08:07


96163     Publishing Corporation Recommends That The GAC 
              Assume All Curriculum Responsibilities 
                         by Julian Shipp 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--In action consistent with the Review Committee and other 
General Assembly Council (GAC) entities, the Presbyterian Publishing 
Corporation (PPC) board is recommending to the upcoming General Assembly 
that the GAC assume full responsibility for the current "Bible Discovery" 
and "Celebrate" curricula and future projects such as "Covenant People," 
currently under development. 
     The board further recommends that the GAC be responsible for other 
"denomination-specific" curriculum in the future, as well as all publishing 
and sales functions associated with these curriculum lines. The GAC will 
also publish other curriculum and Christian education resources it chooses 
to develop alone, with PPC, ecumenical partners, or others. The board's 
decision came April 23 following a closed meeting here. 
     Under the recommendation, PPC will remain the denomination's 
publisher, producing theological trade books, worship aids, and educational 
resource materials other than those associated with denomination-specific 
curriculum "that may aid the Presbyterian Church and other religious 
communities in their educational mission." 
     These educational materials may include Christian education resources 
developed jointly with the GAC, ecumenical partners, or other publishers, 
as well as books and resources in other media that promote the education of 
church leaders and in-depth theological study in congregations. 
     Davis Perkins, PPC president and publisher, told the Presbyterian News 
Service that he believes this is a logical means to express PPC's continued 
interest in curriculum while responding to the needs and concerns of the 
entire denomination.   
     "Our position is that in the spirit of cooperation and endeavoring to 
minimize the conflict between church bodies, we are trying to reach a 
middle-ground accommodation," Perkins said.  
     "As circumstances have developed, we're just trying to respect the 
fact that both PPC and the GAC have a legitimate vested interest in 
publishing curriculum," Perkins said. "And we're trying to respect the fact 
that the General Assembly Council does have a stake in publishing 
curriculum for the denomination, while at the same time wanting a 
recognition of the fact the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation has a 
mission mandate to publish Christian education resources for the 
denomination and ecumenically." 
     All parties agree that the present arrangement between GAC and PPC is 
unsatisfactory.  According to PPC officials, while PPC as a whole has 
generated net income in the two years of its corporate existence, the 
curriculum partnership between PPC/CMD is now in the red. CMD officials 
contend that without the additional PPC overhead costs allocated to 
curriculum, curriculum sales would show a surplus for 1995. 
     According to Perkins, the GAC's share of curriculum losses for 1995 is 
50 percent less than originally projected, or roughly $80,000. He said PPC 
is projecting a 1996 loss for curriculum (before the deficit-sharing 
arrangement between CMD and PPC) of $594,394. 
     Declining curriculum revenue has aggravated a structural problem 
inherent in the curriculum partnership since PPC was launched. Not having a 
unified publication process, combined with increased financial pressure on 
both organizations, makes finding a solution imperative, church leaders 
     Diminished congregational interest in the PC(USA) curriculum materials 
is also impacting both organizations adversely. Fewer than half of all 
PC(USA) churches (4,565 of them) use any part of Presbyterian and Reformed 
Educational Ministries (PREM) offerings. Between 1994-95 and 1995-96, 905 
congregations abandoned PREM for other curricula. 
     The PPC board's decision followed on the heels of a consultant's 
report regarding curriculum dated April 20, which will be forwarded to the 
GAC and PPC for further discussion between the two entities.  
     By unanimous vote, the PPC board and the CMD Committee, agreed that 
the report, by Del R.  Poling of Consulting International in St. 
Petersburg, Fla., be treated as confidential to both bodies due to 
"sensitive personnel issues dealt with in the report."  
     The Rev. Ed Craxton, the CMD's associate director of Christian 
education, said he was appreciative of the consultant's efforts and his 
analysis of the "dynamics and personalities related to the curriculum 
     "I think that [Poling's] work was helpful for the Congregational 
Ministries Division Committee members, and I would think the PPC board as 
well, in getting a better understanding of the issues related to curriculum 
lodgment and [Poling's] perspective on it," Craxton said. 
     The PPC/CMD joint committee's decision echoes the  Review Committee's 
report to the 208th General Assembly (1996), which recommends that the 
entire curriculum enterprise, from conception through development, 
production, marketing and distribution, be transferred to the CMD. 
     Their recommendation further states that "before the present 
arrangement with the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation is terminated, the 
GAC shall have demonstrated to the General Assembly that personnel having 
requisite financial, business, and administrative skills and experiences 
will have been employed by the GAC to carry out the curriculum enterprise."  
     Craxton said he is thankful for the confidence the Review Committee 
has shown in the CMD's ability to undertake all curriculum functions and 
said the division is in the process of developing a business plan for this 
year's General Assembly to show how this can be accomplished. 
     The Rev. James D. Brown, GAC executive director, could not be reached 
for comment.  The next meetings of the GAC Executive Committee are 
scheduled for April 26-29 in Spokane, Wash., and June 26 in Albuquerque, 

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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