From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Committee endorses Perkins

Date 18 Jun 2002 15:56:01 -0400

Note #7262 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Committee endorses Perkins

Will recommend naming PPC president to a third 4-year term

by John Filiatreau

COLUMBUS, OH - The General Assembly Committee on Christian Education and Publications voted on June 17 to recommend that the Assembly confirm the reelection of Davis Perkins to a third four-year term as president and publisher of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC).

In an evening session on Sunday, June 16, PPC staff members showed a PowerPoint presentation on the publishing company, its operations and some of its most popular books and hymnals. Perkins told the committee that, while 2001 was "a difficult year for the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation financially," ending with "a loss on the bottom line," 2002 was looking better.

He said PPC sales are running about $350,000 above anticipated levels so far this year, prompting staffers to increase sales projections for 2002, which is expected to end with PPC reporting "a surplus over expenses" of about $250,000.

"Financially, we believe we've turned the corner," he told the committee, crediting a "back-to-basics" approach to strategic planning that helped PPC "rediscover who our core customers are."

He and other PPC officers said the corporation, which publishes about 100 volumes a year, has identified four "core market segments" for its products: congregations and congregational leaders; professional church leaders, including pastors and elders; church scholars, educators and seminarians; and members of the Presbyterian laity.

PPC's loss for 2001 was about $2.8 million.

During its meeting in Columbus last week, the General Assembly Council (GAC) concurred with the decision of the PPC board to retain Perkins, whose compensation for 2000, including salary and benefits, was $134,066. His appointment next will go to the full Assembly for confirmation.

The committee also voted to:

* Recommend continuing for two years the use of the denomination's human sexuality curriculum series for young people titled "God's Gift of Sexuality," but urged officials of the General Assembly Council's Congregational Ministries Publishing program area (CMP) to strengthen it with study aids and other resources and to work to improve it through a process of review and revision. The panel turned down a suggestion that the program area throw out the current curriculum and "start all over." Publisher Sandra Sorem said the latter measure would cost more than $640,000 in development costs and write-offs of $114,000 in current inventory.
Some members of the committee charged that the current human-sexuality curriculum is lacking in Biblical grounding and may actually encourage young people to engage in irresponsible sexual behavior. Others who said they have actually used the materials in their churches said it is Biblical and effective.

"I can't remember any negative experiences in using that materials," said one. "It has been excellent material. It is Biblical. It is heavy on responsibility, heavy on morality. And it does have our Biblical and theological views included in it."
* Approved a CMD recommendation that the GAC be directed to post a directory of online and printed resources for ministry with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people on the PC(USA)'s Web site, and also to publish a printed list of resources.
Sorem estimated the cost of the project at $124,500.

The Rev. Rebecca Kiser of Eastern Virginia Presbytery said she thinks "pastoral responsibility for counseling with families" of GLBT people "is greatly under-resourced, and this will be a big help.

Amy Florence, an elder from Indian Nations Presbytery, said she opposes the amendment because of its cost. She said a great deal of related information is already readily available over the Internet.

* Voted to delay implementation of a proposal to have CMP develop study materials on the relationship between science and "the affirmation of God as the creator of the universe" until money for the purpose becomes available.
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