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Church Polity Committee reconsiders definition of youth

Youth, authority and ‘gracious dismissal’ among topics presbyteries may consider after Assembly

July 6, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS

Young adult advisory delegates on the 219th General Assembly Church Polity Committee prompted the committee to reconsider an item on the definition of youth because of its import as a guide to categories of representation. That led to a recommendation calling for the GA Committee on Representation to study the age categories and report to the next assembly.

Also, with a vote of 32-12-0, members agreed with the Advisory Committee on the Constitution (ACC) in keeping authoritative interpretations of the GA Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) and GA as equally binding because they are not separate entities, despite some mistrust in the denomination.

Other items that gained committee support:

  • Disallowing the addition of the proposed pastoral classification of "Commissioned Lay Pastor at-large."
  • Disallowing congregations to adopt articles of incorporation in conflict with the constitution.
  • Sharing “gracious dismissal” policies online from presbyteries.
  • Specifying that candidates for ministry will be examined and ordained by the presbytery calling them.
  • Allowing candidates for ministry earlier circulation of their personal information forms.
  • Sending to presbyteries amendments regarding the relaxing of nomination requirements.

 A minority report was filed late Tuesday that offers an alternative amendment on Authoritative Interpretation, clarifying that the GAPJC’s rulings may not differ from that of actions of the General Assembly itself.