By Melody K. Smith, Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Two Presbyterian Mission Agency ministries have merged to form Theology, Formation and Evangelism. The two areas involved were previously called Theology, Worship and Education and Evangelism and Church Growth.
Along with the new name comes a new reporting structure that was recently implemented by executive director Linda Valentine and approved by the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Executive Committee. The new structure has been in place since November of 2014, so this action simply makes the structure permanent. No jobs will be eliminated.
“This new structure was designed to best use the skills and gifts of the current staff in the most effective way possible, to increase synergy among some ministries and to eliminate need for new hires,” said Valentine.
Whatever the corporate sins and general managerial incompetence manifest in the PCUSA. and they are legion, one of the more pressing issues in the organization is that the 171 presbytery/15 synod/OGA governing matrix cannot be sustained. There is not enough people and/or money to keep the wheels going.
Hence what we are seeing in smaller and bigger ways is the slow motion collapse of the structure into a far smaller footprint and cost structure going forward. By the end of the decade the PCUSA will be 800K-1 mil organization, and may well be underway with a union/merger with the UCC, but you will have a 60-70 presbytery model and far smaller Louisville foot print in terms of corporate head count. Amen to that.
Sooner or later numbers matters, so does theology and confession, or lack of it.
“A union/merger with the UCC”? The last time I checked, property trust clauses were anathema to the congregational model of church government. How do you see the two denominations working it out?
In response, any potential merger between the PCUSA/UCC would be a marriage of like minded politics and ideologies. A goodly number of UCC clergy are LGBT, as a growing number of PCUSA are. The minor aspects of polity was never an issue where money and power on the line.
As we recall, when the PCUS-UPC merged in ’83, there was a clause for PCUS congregations who had the historic principle of church property as local . My guess would be any future amalgamation of the UCC/PUCSA would have some type of clause in the new form of govt. retaining the property clause for those congregations who cross over from the former PCUSA.
But the PCUSA is in a bit of an island in terms of its episcopal understanding of church property in that its ideological cousins in liberal Protestantism, UCC, UU, CC (DC) RCA do not have such an understanding.
As the old great liberator said, Let my people go.