The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) is recommending to the 226th General Assembly that the entire agency review process be delayed two years. During its monthly meeting on Thursday, COGA’s action also included language asking that its business and referrals workgroup confer with the General Assembly Nominating Committee (GANC) on how to best present the assembly next year.
“The GANC worked diligently to find individuals but could not identify enough applicants, so we considered recommending one committee with three subcommittees but still didn’t have enough people for that,” said Kerry Rice, deputy stated clerk in the Office of the General Assembly. “We’re asking that the assembly delay the review process and push everything out two years.”
The recommendation would require:
- The 226th assembly to authorize formation of review committees for the Board of Pensions, the Presbyterian Foundation and the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program to report at the 227th assembly in 2026
- The 227th assembly to authorize the formation of review committees for the Office of the General Assembly, the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation to report at the 228th assembly in 2028
- The 227th assembly to authorize the formation of an all-agency review committee, which would include a review of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.0, A Corporation, to report to the 229th assembly in 2030
“I’m not sure that we have enough people across the denomination to support this review calendar anymore,” said Teaching Elder Stephanie Anthony. “Maybe an all-agency review, but one for each individual agency? I’m not sure it makes sense at this point.”
Rice said there are a lot of questions around how the church reviews agencies and elected leaders, but this recommendation just speaks to actions of previous assemblies.
“One of the tasks given to the Unification Commission is to not only look at unification but review all committees related to both the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency,” he said. “This might be a start for that conversation in the way we do governance more broadly and look at the 500 people we require to maintain the system we currently have.”
In other business, the Stated Clerk Nominating Committee reported that it has drafted an updated job description for stated clerk. COGA members will spend the next several weeks reviewing and making recommendations for the draft. Teaching Elder Sallie Watson, committee convener, says they plan to bring the final draft to COGA’s fall meeting for approval.
“The 180-day deadline is December 28. That will give candidates a good three months to apply. The Unification Commission has been a partner in this and will give feedback as well,” she said. “There needs to be a big emphasis on transition, and we need someone who can be flexible at this time.”
COGA will conduct its in-person fall meeting at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, September 12–14.