An Explanation of Expenses for the Postponed General Assembly
The PCA has postponed General Assembly for the first time in its relatively short history due to the effects of the current pandemic. We can trust our heavenly Father has all things under control and at the same time confess and humbly admit we do not. We also should make the godly effort to manage well our stewardship of the providence He sends us. In that context, we bring some additional information regarding the financial realities of this postponement and the financial complications it brings.
First, it is important to know that it takes multiple years to plan a General Assembly. Our staff works on three or four General Assemblies every year. When one assembly concludes we always want to have two, or preferably three, in place while also looking for the fourth. Each of those will require some time and work as we move through the year. By the time we reach April, a lot of work by a presbytery host committee and the PCA Administrative Committee has been invested in the approaching assembly or in the current moment “postponed.” Now, in 2020, we are somewhat frantically trying to wind down the postponed assembly with all constituency: commissioners, exhibitors, sponsors, convention center, hotels, vendors, seminars, food and fellowship functions, a hard-working host committee, women’s and children’s functions. We are trying to communicate to all as needed by every means available and appropriate in the situations. At the same time, we are facilitating and supporting special committees by Zoom such as Nominating and Review of Presbytery Records Committees.
Soon, we will begin work on next year’s gathering in St. Louis, signing contracts, coordinating vendors, and preparing communications. We have to commit funds to secure the space and vendors for future assemblies.
Second, it is important to know your registration fee does more than cover the expenses required to host an assembly. The full fees of $450 per commissioner are divided $350 to the GA expenses, $30 to production and publication of the minutes, and $75 to help cover the expenses of the Standing Judicial Commission. All these expenses are ongoing through the year in various ways.
Third, with these above realities in mind, I want to provide a breakdown of the expenses connected to General Assembly. The following are estimated expenses we will incur for the postponed assembly in 2020. For an effort at clearest expression, I have grouped the detailed expenses into categories for verbal explanation.
- Personnel expenses to accomplish all outlined and suggested above will be $248,000, the salaries and benefits total for 2020. We have fifteen employees who work either part-time or full-time on coordinating General Assembly. This means that fifteen of our employees have job descriptions that include responsibilities related to coordinating General Assembly. This is what it takes to compensate them, including benefits and payroll taxes.
- Overhead expenses to keep this team working are estimated at $28,000. This covers rent, office supplies, etc.
- Travel is estimated at $50,000 and includes travel to the various sites and some related committee meetings. Remember, multiple people have to travel throughout the year to prospective locations for General Assembly as well as visiting the host city for this year’s assembly.
- Communication expenses are ongoing and this grouping totals $37,000. This involves maintaining and updating a website in addition to designing, printing, and mailing multiple publications.
- The last grouping is miscellaneous expenses such as insurance payments and other professional expenses, which are estimated at $22,000.
The grand total is $385,000! We are able to budget these expenses because of anticipated income from commissioner registration fees. Now, we are faced with the prospect of zero income plus the reality of working on next year’s assembly. You can see why it is important that commissioners donate their registration fees.
Thank you for your consideration of these matters. We hope this helps fill in the answers to some of your questions and that you will find the way clear to help us through these years by contributing your registrations as you are able to afford. May our gracious Father in heaven continue to bless us as we seek to serve Him for the good of His church, the progress of His gospel, and the glory of His name.
John W. Robertson
PCA Business Administrator