GA226 Medallion

Thirteen items of business and two reports await members of the Polity Committee when they meet online June 25-27 as part of the 226th General Assembly.

The item that’s garnered considerable advance interest is POL-01, which would amend the Book of Order to include sexual orientation and gender identity among the categories against which the church does not discriminate. That item is being brought by Olympia Presbytery with concurrence from eight other presbyteries and the Synod of Mid-America.

Among the other items of business that the committee will consider:

  • POL-02 would amend D-7.0501 to require a clerk of session or stated clerk of a presbytery to disclose to the council the nature of an alleged offense and the name of the person accused when the person who’s been harmed is a minor or a vulnerable adult.
  • POL-03, which is being brought by the Presbytery of Santa Fe, would add a new heading and paragraph to the Form of Government following G-1.0103. According to the overture’s rationale, the intention of the proposed amendment “is to provide a minimal, flexible and adaptable level of historic Reformed polity for small worshiping communities that wish to identify with the larger church in worship and formation, discipleship and mission.”
  • POL-04 would amend D-7.0902.b to specify that administrative leave be paid leave. According to the overture’s rationale, “this amendment would preserve the due process rights of all ministers of Word and Sacrament accused of sexual misconduct without diminishing the protections afforded to the alleged or potential victims of that misconduct.” Charleston Atlantic Presbytery brought the overture.
  • POL-05, which is brought by Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, would extend the maximum period of service provided by temporary pastors from 12 months to 36 months, which is renewable with the approval of the presbytery.
  • POL-08, brought by the Presbytery of Northeast New Jersey, would amend G-2.0901 and G-2.0504b to not allow non-disclosure agreements when the relationship of an installed pastor is dissolved or a temporary pastoral relationship ends. “As pertains to a church and a pastor, a non-disclosure agreement invites speculation that is typically a disservice to all parties,” the overture’s rationale states.
  • POL-09 and POL-10 come to the General Assembly from the Special Committee on Standing Rules. POL-09 would update Standing Rule 3.A.4.a so that each General Assembly would consist of 250 ruling elder commissioners and 250 teaching elder commissioners. Each General Assembly would approve a plan for determining how commissioners would be allocated for the next assembly. POL-10 would amend G-3.0302d to eliminate the need for concurrence for every overture “while allowing for that practice to continue as a way of showing broad support,” the overture rationale states.
  • POL-11, brought by Northeast Georgia Presbytery, would add a policy on vulnerable adults to the policies required of all councils. “This amendment builds upon the important work carried out by previous assemblies to provide for institutional protections for at-risk populations within our congregations and councils,” the rationale states. “By extending the protection of policies to vulnerable adults, we reaffirm our commitment to inclusivity, compassion and justice.”
  • POL-12 is the Advisory Committee on the Constitution’s summary report of Authoritative Interpretations. The committee and, later, the General Assembly can approve them, retain them for historical or other reasons, or not retain them.
  • Brought by the Presbytery of Milwaukee, POL-13 asks the General Assembly to issue an Authoritative Interpretation regarding W-3.04 on the celebration of the Lord’s Supper: “What does the term ‘public worship’ include,” the overture asks, “and may a congregation celebrate the Lord’s Supper within an electronic worship service?”
  • POL-14, from Cascades Presbytery, also seeks an Authoritative Interpretation, this one regarding waiving mandatory trainings. G-3.0106 requires boundary training at least every 36 months. Cascades Presbytery asks if it can waive the boundary training requirement “for specific members who, due to age or other incapacity, are unable to participate in the training.”
  • POL-15, also from Cascades Presbytery, seeks an Authoritative Interpretation regarding commission composition.
  • POL-INFO-01 is the Advisory Committee on the Constitution’s 2024 agency summary report with response to referral and report with recommendations. POL-INFO-2 is the report of the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission.

General Assembly committees meet online June 25-27. Learn more about the 226th General Assembly here.