Dear Mr. Maggs,
I am writing to express my deep disappointment with a report from the Presbyterian Outlook today, quoting one of the members of the healthcare committee, Mr. Robert Gorskey who said as quoted by the reporter, Leslie Scanlon: “Gorsky said the October recommendation ‘makes a lot of sense and provides flexibility for congregations,’ and added, ‘I just don’t think we should cave in to the whiners.’
I would humbly submit to you that the many of us who have communicated with the Board, our Regional Reps, in the last few months about the proposed changes to the healthcare plan are not “whiners.” We are servants of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), pastors, ruling elders, staff members and governing body leaders. And we have questions and concerns.
I am deeply worried and troubled as so many of my friends in ministry are about the pending healthcare proposals you are debating this weekend. They have to do with our lives and those of our families and congregations who we love dearly. I have been holding those in Philadelphia in my prayers this weekend and am glad to see that other potential avenues for solving this problem are being considered.
But calling those of us who have raised concerns and questions “the whiners” in an open meeting makes me question what is going on behind closed doors. What are we being called there? Are the members of the Board of Pensions here to serve those of us serving the larger church or are we being mocked when there is great anxiety all around us? I expect more, and when I saw this news article this afternoon I was brought to tears of sadness for our church. Comments like these only tear us apart and sever our ability to work together in the common ministry we have been called to.
In my capacity as Vice-Moderator of our Presbytery I am coming to Philadelphia in April to the Regional Benefits Consultation. I hope and pray that I will not hear these sort of hurtful, disparaging comments then. My expectation of you as President and Chief Executive is to issue a press release this weekend signed by all members of the Board stating that Mr. Gorskey’s comments were not just out of order, but they are out of step with the common ministry we each share. We deserve an apology.
I await your response.
Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo
cc: Rev. Allison Seed, Regional Rep, Northeast
Rev. Dr. Neal Presa, Moderator of the 220th General Assembly