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The General Assembly Procedures Committee will among other business consider GAP-03, the work of the Special Committee on Standing Rules to simplify and make accessible the Standing Rules of the General Assembly.

Committees of the 226th General Assembly meet online June 25-27.

The proposal is in five parts: Foundations and Values of the General Assembly, The Worship of God, Creation of Community, Faithful Discernment and Governance, and a Glossary of Terms.

In “The Worship of God” section, worship is placed “at the center of the Assembly’s corporate life.”

Under the proposal by the standing committee, moderators would be elected during the final plenary meeting of each assembly before closing worship. Currently, moderators are elected during the first day of plenaries.

A handful of committees have weighed in with advice on the special committee’s proposal. The Advisory Committee on the Constitution finds “no constitutional impediments” to electing the moderators at the end of the assembly. The ACC “urges the assembly” to include a written procedure to be followed “should the co-moderators not agree on any particular ruling.” One option would be to give precedence to the ruling of the co-moderator who is in the chair when the ruling is issued. Another would be to turn the matter over to the assembly to decide.

The LGBTQIA+ Equity Advocacy Committee (ACQ+E) advises adding to the requirements for planning for the sites of future assemblies to take into consideration “state law, local ordinances, facility use policies or other discriminatory local rules and policies that may create an unsafe space or make LGBTQIA+ persons feel unsafe or unwelcome. Full consideration will be given towards creating a safe space for people of all gender identities.”

The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly recommends not requiring the Stated Clerk to consult with COGA or a future governing body on assembly decisions, as that can “slow processes that require immediate attention” and “dilute the Clerk’s authority.” COGA also seeks clarity in Standing Rule 3.D.2.b, which names both the Stated Clerk and the (co)moderator(s) as the denomination’s ambassadors but recognizing the Clerk alone “interprets actions for the church.”

The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy recommends amending Section 3 to add minimum standards for accessing online meetings.

The General Assembly Procedures Committee is scheduled to consider two other items of business during its scheduled three days of online meetings.

The first, GAP-01, from the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, recommends that the 226th General Assembly (2024) accept the invitation from the Presbytery of Milwaukee to host the 227th General Assembly (2026) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from June 23 through July 2, 2026. The cost estimate is about $1.1 million.

The Milwaukee Convention Center will have a new addition with construction completed this year. It will be the site for the Republican National Convention next month. It’s compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and is part of a free trolly system.

The Presbytery of Milwaukee has shared “an enthusiastic willingness to host,” COGA said. Milwaukee last hosted the General Assembly in 1992.

GAP-02 recommends that COGA forward the names of Tim Cargal, Kate Trigger Duffert and Jihyun Oh to the 226th General Assembly for election as Associate Stated Clerks of the General Assembly. In Oh’s case, the point will become moot if and when the assembly elects her as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA).

Cargal is Associate Director for Ministry Leadership Development. Trigger Duffert is Director of General Assembly Planning, while Oh’s current position is Director of Mid Council Ministries.

The other Associate Stated Clerks previously elected to four-year terms at the 225th General Assembly (2022) are Laurie Griffith, Associate Director for Constitutional Interpretation; Tricia Dykers Koenig, Associate Director for Mid Council Relations; Kerry Rice, Deputy Stated Clerk of the Office of the General Assembly; Nancy Taylor, Executive Director of the Presbyterian Historical Society; and Dianna Wright, Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations.

Find the proposed schedule for the General Assembly Procedures Committee here. William Humphreys from the Presbytery of Santa Fe is committee moderator. Patricia Snyder from Shenandoah Presbytery is the vice-moderator.