From the Worldwide Faith News archives

GAC approves $136 million budget for '02

Date 24 Feb 2001 11:30:40

Note #6400 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


GAC approves $136 million budget for '02

Funds shifted into mission program areas considered "high-impact"

by John Filiatreau

LOUISVILLE -- During its plenary session at the downtown Hyatt Regency on
Feb. 23, the General Assembly Council (GAC) voted to approve the formation
of a new Presbyterian Mortgage Corporation, in effect making it possible for
the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) to make more funds
available for lending to PC(USA) borrowers.

	The new corporation would raise funds by "selling" future interest revenue
from PILP loans to financial institutions in exchange for cash equal to the
loan principal. The measure would enable PILP to legally circumvent
capital-reserve regulations that otherwise limit the volume of loans it can
make available for lending.
PILP has outstanding loans approaching $40 million; officials say loan
demand in the PC(USA) exceeds $330 million a year.

	Mission Support Services had endorsed the plan during its meeting earlier
in the week. Some GAC members had misgivings about possible financial risk,
but were reassured that the risk to the denomination is negligible.

	PILP President Ken Grant said the new corporation is scheduled to begin
operations in January 2003.

	The GAC approved a mission budget for 2002 of a little more than $136
million. It also approved a new budget process intended to make it more
systematic and "transparent" and to insure that input is sought from all
PC(USA) entities.
The budget includes $49.8 million for the Worldwide Ministries Division,
$30.7 million for National Ministries Division, $22.6 million for
Congregational Ministries Division and $6.3 million for Mission Support

	The GAC also approved a recommendation from the Congregational Ministries
Division (CMD)that curriculum publishing no longer be expected to be
financially self-sustaining.

	CMD Committee Chair Lynn Shurley said the curriculum publishing area has
not been self-sufficient "in the past" and cannot realistically be expected
to pay its own way in the future. He said NMD officials have been doomed to
"a mad scramble at the end of the year to find funds from anywhere" -- what
CMD Director Don Campbell calls "budget-reconciliation funds" -- to offset
its loss.

	Shurley said hard-working curriculum staff members are weary after years of
"catching up, making up and evening-out" and still ending every year with an
"inevitable sense of failure," and now look forward to being "on a level
playing field with all the other mission activities of the church."

	The curriculum area's loss for 2000 was about $850,000.

	The GAC voted to approve "budget-reconciliation" allocations to cover
curriculum publishing expenses for 2001 ($216,454) and 2002 ($246,348) --
whereupon GAC Deputy Director Joey Bailey announced that funds were
available elsewhere in the budget to reduce the 2001 figure to just $5,721,
prompting a burst of applause.

	The measure approved by GAC scraps the "business model" that has been
applied to curriculum publishing and replaces it with a "service model,"
acknowledging that the creation of denomination-specific curriculum is a
part of the church's mission, and therefore should be supported out of
"mission dollars."

	Also included in the budget are six new mission initiatives for 2002 with a
total estimated annual cost of more than $1.2 million:

* The creation of a Human Resources recruiting team to centralize
recruiting, advertising and interviewing for open positions in the PC(USA)
and to improve diversity in hiring: $175,000 a year.

* The hiring of a Chief Information Officer for the Office of Information
Services to do strategic analysis of GAC system needs: $125,000.

* A new Integrated Stewardship pilot program that is to begin in 2001 and
continue into 2003; a program director and four Stewardship Officers would
be hired to support stewardship at the congregational and middle governing
body levels: $550,000.

* A racial-ethnic leadership development initiative that will identify
racial-ethnic individuals with leadership potential and equip them for
service through a program of management training: $100,000.

* A funds-development "incubator" program that would pay some of the
start-up costs of funds-development efforts in several program areas

* A "data warehouse" system that would replace more than a dozen
uncoordinated and redundant databases now maintained by various PC(USA)
entities ($150,000).

	Under a plan announced before the GAC meeting, each of the three ministry
divisions will contribute 1 percent of its total unrestricted budget to what
GAC Executive Director John Detterick has called a "pool" of funds to be
redistributed to "high-impact" programs within the divisions in the areas of
evangelism and discipleship. An additional 1.5 percent of unified money from
support services, such as finance and accounting, research, communications,
human resources, property management and the Presbyterian Distribution
Service, also will go into the pool.

	Two support agencies -- the Office of Information Services and the Mission
Partnership Funding office -- are exempt from the assessment. Mission
Partnership funds, which go to synods and presbyteries, are already
committed, Detterick said, and OIS is exempt "because we need to beef up our
technological infrastructure, not cut back on it."

	Detterick estimated that the divisions -- which will draw from the pool in
proportion to their share of the total unified budget -- will get back 1.2
percent for their 1 percent contribution. Support services will get back

	The redistribution plan, unveiled during a Feb. 20 meeting of the council's
executive committee, grew out of the controversial prioritization process
the GAC initiated last fall, in which every program was rated "high-impact,"
"medium-impact" or "low-impact" in terms of the council's top priorities --
evangelism and discipleship.

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