This weekend the General Assembly Mission Council approved more budget reductions which included the elimination of many staff positions. I can't quite figure out the exact number because the PNS report is confusing.
What I do know for sure is that the young man that I worked with at Presbyterians Today was one of those whose job was eliminated. According the the report, "most of the reductions are concentrated in Congregational Ministries Publishing, and in the areas of Shared Services, and Communications and Funds Development."
Hmm. It seems to me that a denominational office that is suffering budget shortfalls needs more communications and fund development rather than less. At the same time, its controversial Washington political lobbying office appears to have escaped any reduction in funds or staff, and a new director for this office was approved. This makes me think the GA Mission Council is not serious about focusing its resources on the decline in membership of the PCUSA. What a surprise.
Today's Wall Street Journal brings more bad news on the ecclesiastical job front with its article "Joblessness Hits the Pulpit" which reported on a trend of elimination of jobs for both pastors and other church staff due to declining contributions. The reporter attributed this to the poor economy and jobless rates and did not discuss other contributing factors such as membership decline or denominational schisms.
Unfortunately I feat these trends will continue with the result that the core mission of the church--the spreading of the gospel--will continue to suffer.