(By Leslie Scanlon, The Presbyterian Outlook). The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) is considering what’s being described as a “joyous” budget for 2019 and 2020 – a budget that would include a per capita increase from $7.73 per member in 2018 to $10.11 in 2019 and $10.82 in 2020.
That would amount to a 30 percent per capita increase from 2018 to 2019, and overall a 44 percent increase from the current rate of $7.50 per member in 2017 to $10.82 per member in 2020.
In presenting this budget for discussion now, leaders of the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) are testing the waters – it won’t come up for a formal vote until COGA’s meeting in Feb. 6-8, 2018, and potentially could be revised before then. And even from COGA members, there was some initial pushback.
J. Herbert Nelson, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), said the proposed budget is structured to allow OGA to better serve the church – including providing leadership training and support for mid councils.
“We need to bring it with joy, and not trepidation,” said John Wood, who works for OGA and is part of OGA’s budget team. “This is for the whole church,” and reflects “a posture of abundance, and not scarcity.”
Wood also said: “We can’t live in the church we want to live in by having cost control” as the only priority. “We need to be helping the mid councils. We need to be where the need is.”