Not all the 1975 reports are in yet, but staff members at Atlanta’s Presbyterian Center are trying hard to find the good news amid the bad. It was a difficult year for the theologically torn Presbyterian Church in the U. S. (Southern), and its headquarters staff had to be happy with such small encouragements as the report that $7,000 more than expected was received toward a $7 million budget.

That budget had been cut from $9 million to $7 million last April when a deficit of $2 million in the previous year’s operations came to light. Missionaries overseas and staff members at home were reduced in number, and those remaining on the payroll took a 5 per cent cut in pay starting May 1.

When all the bills were added up in January of this year, the accountants found it would be possible to restore that 5 per cent in back pay. And it was more good news for the staffers on Ponce de Leon Avenue when they learned that their 1976 checks would include an additional 5 per cent boost.

The remaining headquarters staff is about half the size of the combined rosters of denominational agencies five years ago. All the major program agencies were merged by order of the General Assembly, and the formerly separate boards of education, women’s work, home and foreign missions, and communications were dissolved.

Assigned to supervise all the church’s principal programs now is a body known as the General Executive Board (GEB). The ability of the single “super board” to oversee all denominational work at home and abroad has been questioned since before it was created, but continuing declines in funding for it have brought new criticism.

Giving to denominational-level (as distinguished from congregational and regional) work continued to decline last year; ...

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