In response to questions and comments members of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly have received about the Stated Clerk’s statement on the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we offer our understanding of the authorities and responsibilities given to the Clerk and COGA by the General Assembly.
- According to the Organization for Mission adopted by the 223rd General Assembly (2018), “[t]he Stated Clerk is the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s chief ecumenical officer and its primary representative in national and international interchurch and interfaith organizations and speaks to and for the church in matters of faith and practice in accord with the beliefs, policies, and actions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).” (Organization for Mission IV.B.2.a.)
- There are no specified procedures in the Organization for Mission or any other denominational documents that direct when, how, or with what consultation statements are made. The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly trusts the Stated Clerk’s role and responsibility to make statements of this nature as the Clerk sees fit. The Clerk may choose to consult with mission partners in crafting statements, but there is no standard policy that requires this practice.
- The Organization for Mission empowers the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly “to carry out the assembly’s oversight of the Stated Clerk and the Office of the General Assembly; to assure the accountability of the Stated Clerk to the General Assembly during the interim between sessions of the assembly” (Organization for Mission IV.C.2.a.). COGA does not have the authority to manage the work of the Stated Clerk as they carry out responsibilities entrusted to them by the General Assembly.