From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Publishing Corporation Recommends That The GAC
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
"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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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