By Leslie Scanlon, The Presbyterian Outlook
An internal investigation has found that four employees of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s national staff were involved in an unauthorized plan in which funds were channeled from the denomination to an outside entity.
The four – all connected with the PCUSA’s evangelism efforts at the top levels – have not been fired and have not been identified by the denomination.
But they have been involved in a much-promoted program through which the denomination has pledged to start 1001 New Worshiping Communities over 10 years, starting in 2012. At last summer’s General Assembly, for example, the denomination’s national staff threw 248 red beach balls into the air at the close of one of the business sessions, to celebrate the creation of that many new worshiping communities.
When that happened, however, the audit committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board had already launched an internal investigation that apparently centers on work done by the Evangelism and Church Growth ministry area, led by director Eric Hoey, and the Church Growth office, then led by coordinator Philip Lotspeich. Both those ministries lie within the mission program area overseen by Roger Dermody, the PCUSA’s deputy executive director for mission.