COGA, GAMC propose 35-cent per capita increase over two years

Parsons says 2% budget increase will ‘keep us from falling backward’

February 16, 2012


The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the General Assembly Mission Council’s (GAMC) Executive Committee are proposing to the upcoming 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that the General Assembly per capita (per member) apportionment increase from its current $6.63 to $6.80 in 2013 and to $6.98 in 2014.

General Assembly per capita funds the national ecclesiastical functions of the PC(USA), including the biennial meetings of the General Assembly, the meetings and task forces the Assembly creates, including the GAMC, the church’s court system and constitutional services, the Presbyterian Historical Society, and the record- and document-keeping of the denomination.

The per capita increase will fund per capita budgets of $13,848,133 for 2013 and $14,175,084 for 2014. The increases represent a 2 percent budget increase for each year. About $1.4 million of the 2013 budget is designated for 2014 General Assembly expenses.

“These slight increases will keep us from falling backward,” said General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons. He said the budget hikes will fund “modest” staff salary increases, ever-increasing General Assembly meeting costs and uncollectible per capita.

Per capita pay-up is currently “steady in the mid-90s (percent),” Parsons said, but fewer presbyteries are able to make up for per capita payments their congregations cannot afford or refuse to pay.

“OGA has no muscle to force payment of per capita except our relationships with presbyteries,” Parsons said. “Some of them just don’t have reserves left to make up uncollectibles from congregations, who are also hard-pressed financially.

“Per capita,” he added with a smile, “is the most reliable source of declining funding we have.”

Parsons reported better than expected results for the 2011 per capita budget. “We budgeted to use $300,000 in reserves last year and only had to use $161,000,” he said, adding that “we have been on a long slow march for the last 10 years to spend down our excess reserves.”

The per capita reserve requirement, set by the General Assembly, is 30% of the annual budget. Current reserves amount to more than 45 percent so the 2013 and 2014 budgets utilize reserves of $528,000 and $857,000 respectively.

  1. There is nothing "liberal and controversial" about the awesome love and inclusivity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Presbgterian 101 on our PCUSA website talks openly about inclusivevity and a church reformed and always reforming. I am not just along for the ride and will continue to work towards a church that embraces sll believers.

    by Ted Coppock

    February 21, 2012

  2. Let's see.........per capita is going up because there are fewer congregations, and fewer people in those congregations, to pay the bills of the bureaucracy ; or because a significant number of those left are too angry over the direction the leadership has taken the church to pay. The same is true of Board of Pension payments.........there are fewer participants, because there are fewer churches, and the smaller churches can no longer afford to have full time ministers, given minimum salary requirements and pension payments. What's going to happen if & when, out of the 15 wealthiest churches in PCUSA, the 9 that are involved in the Fellowship movement make decisions to sever or limit their ties to PCUSA? Yet, we wake up every morning, and make/take the same outrageous comments and positions that have been driving membership away for the last thirty years. We need to jettison the majority of the bureaucracy at the national level, and concentrate on core missions of local churches meeting the spiritual and secular needs of local individuals, new church development, and streamlined foreign missions, instead of being a corporate lobbying group for everything liberal and controversial.

    by Bob Harsell

    February 17, 2012