Presbyterian News Service: The General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approves revised 2009 mission budget
(This is a pretty good summary. Questions anyone? Not that I promise to have any answers. :-) )
“The staff of the General Assembly Council has worked for more than two years to articulate a common vision that will help us to reshape, focus and unify our ministries,” said Linda Valentine, GAC executive director. “The national economic situation has accelerated some of that work, and has also made it imperative to reduce expenses immediately.”
“Some of the changes to our budget were made to improve our flexibility, effectiveness and responsiveness, while others are purely cost-cutting measures,” said Joey Bailey, chief financial officer. “Overall, I think the new budget reflects our commitment to being responsible stewards of the funds that are entrusted to us, being accountable to the church, and to our constituents.”
The council approved a number of measures, including the following.
Collegiate and Youth Ministries were consolidated and moved to the Evangelism and Church Growth ministry area; the Multicultural Ministry Office was renamed Multicultural Congregational Support and moved into Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries /Presbyterian Women; the National Health Ministries Office was eliminated; and a new Environmental Office was launched.
Across-the-board cuts in postage (10 percent) and travel (15 percent) were implemented.
Some positions were eliminated; 14 employees were notified today that their positions are being eliminated and 14 other positions have been eliminated since September 2008. Also, 28 vacant positions were eliminated. Because of the reshaping of the GAC, 12 new positions have been added since that time. With these changes, the total GAC workforce numbers just over 400, not including mission co-workers, conference center staff, and other GAC-related entities.
The 2009 budget maintains efforts to accomplish our commitment to increase the number of mission co-workers in 2009, for the first time in 50 years.
“The decision to eliminate positions was difficult,” said Valentine. “We know it will have a real-life impact on people for whom we care and with whom we have worked side by side. We truly appreciate the work of all of our employees. I want to personally thank those who are leaving us for their efforts on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).”
All employees whose positions were eliminated will be offered separation agreements that include notice pay, severance and outplacement service.
In previously announced decisions, the GAC executive committee approved a mandatory staff furlough that will impact the 2009 budget and eliminated planned salary increases in 2010.
In other business at the Louisville meeting, the GAC heard reports from committees on evangelism, discipleship, justice, stewardship, and vocation, as well as advocacy and advisory committees; and a presentation on the form of government task force.
The council meets again in September, when it will address the 2010 budget.
“We have addressed the 2009 budget now because we are working in a climate of economic uncertainty,” said Valentine. “For 2010, we’ll be looking at a number of programs and asking the same kind of questions – what are the church’s needs and what can the GAC do uniquely and best? We know we face a similar projected shortfall next year. This year, we were able to make up for some of the shortfall with unspent funds from past years; we cannot count on that again, so we will be looking closely at program areas. However, let’s not lose sight of the long view. We will continue to do an incredible amount of ministry this year and into the future.”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) serves about 2.2 million members in mission and ministry in approximately 10,800 congregations throughout the United States and around the world. National offices are located in Louisville, Ky.
See this article for more details: GAC closes $9.92 million 2009 mission budget gap
UPDATE: Presbyterian Outlook has a good article: Budget cuts lead to more restructuring, downsizing of General Assembly Council staff