For the sheer volume of business before it — it has 31 items to consider — the Committee on the Standing Rules of the General Assembly will have to hit the ground running during its in-person work June 27-29 at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jennifer Jennings of the Presbytery of East Iowa will serve as committee moderator. Annabell Williams-Blegen of Blackhawk Presbytery will be vice-moderator.
The committee’s business, all of which comes from recommendations of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, can be seen here. Among its considerable to-do list are these items of business:
STAN-07 gives the General Assembly more flexibility in forming special committees and task forces, the proliferation of which, the recommendation’s rationale states, “has the potential to become financially burdensome and practically inefficient. Finding members to serve on and lead them, as well as staff to resource them, can be a strain on the church’s human and financial resources. It is not a sustainable way to accomplish the work of the church.”
STAN-13 amends Standing Rule F.5.a. to add, “motions for the previous question on more than one pending item are not in order at any time.” Commissioners “with knowledge of parliamentary procedure abuse the motion to call the previous question on all pending items when the Moderator has called only for amendments and not permitted open discussion on the item before the Assembly,” COGA’s rationale states, “usually when there are multiple items pending and debate veiled as questions has taken the time and energy the Assembly has to consider the particular item.”
STAN-22 makes clear that a young adult advisory delegate to the General Assembly must be a member of a congregation in the presbytery that elects them. The amendment raises the minimum age to 18 and requires presbyteries to name their YAAD 180 days prior to start of the assembly.
STAN-23 would require that every item of business, including accompanying communications and resource material, be translated into the languages approved by the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
STAN-26 would prohibit commissioners’ resolutions that exceed 750 words, including the rationale, from being accepted for referral. The reason is that the timeline for translating commissioners’ resolutions is very short, “so it is important to be succinct,” the rationale states.
STAN-36 authorizes a Special Committee on the Standing Rules of the General Assembly to review the current standing rules and propose a new set of them to the 226th General Assembly (2024), along with any amendments to related documents required to enable those changes. The current standing rules, COGA wrote in its rationale, “were written for the assemblies of years past when there were many more commissioners, advisory delegates and observers. Even before the deep challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were learning the limitations of this approach to doing the business and discernment of the national church.”