My last two and one half days have been consumed with observing the workings of Committee #8, “Mission Coordination and Budgets,” here at the Presbyterian General Assembly in San Jose. Some of it is what many would consider boring institutional stuff. Here is an incomplete recap of issues dealt with. Mind you all of these are decisions to be reported out and must pass on the floor of the assembly.
- The Mission Work Plan 2009-2012, which has consumed much of my time in the past two years passed with flying colors as did the budget. For the first time since the 1950s we will have net increased in the number international mission workers, rising from (as I recall) from 196 now to about 205, and then to about 210 in the following year.
- The committee recommends expanding the General Assembly Council by 1 to make a slot for Presbyterian Men on the board.
- The plan for a review of the interrelatedness of the six agencies of the General Assembly passed.
- A review committee was recommended that would review the advocacy and advisory committees of the General Assembly.
- A resolution for Presbyterian entities to purchase goods from companies that have been certified as not using sweatshop labor was passed.
- A motion was passed that proposes to add a fifth denomination wide offering for supporting international mission work. The GAC had been recommending that targeted campaigns like the one last fall be implemented. The committee instead opted for creating a fifth offering. The downside here is that it takes at least three years for such an offering to get up to speed to the point where people are aware of the offering. It will likely lose money in the early years. I do wish the committee had spent more time reflecting on the impact of this with input from the communications and stewardship folks how are trying to take the denomination to more cutting-edge tactics.
- It is being recommended that the “General Assembly Council” will become the “General Assembly Mission Council.”
My previous post highlights the outcome of the issues related to the GAC and the Foundation. That consumed most of yesterday. There are other things I could include here but this gives you some idea of what was going on.