GA226 Medallion

Much of the work of the Mid Councils Committee will focus on clarifying boundaries and receiving synod reports.

The committee of the 226th General Assembly (2024) meets online June 25-27. Synod executives have requested time to share highlights from their mid council’s ministries.

The committee, led by Moderator Ekpoanwan Onyile of the Presbytery of the Coastlands and Vice-Moderator Mario Bolivar of Central Florida Presbytery, will also hear a presentation on “The Gospel from Utah” by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy. Since the 221st General Assembly (2014), ACSWP has invited the host presbytery — in this case, the Presbytery of Utah — to share an overview of its missions and ministries and celebrate the good works present and embodied within its bounds.

Together with the Synod of the Rocky Mountains, the presbytery formed a Small Church Working Group. Its chair, the Rev. Jon Draskovic, says in “The Gospel from Utah,” “It’s a reality of life in the West that there’s a lot of distance between us. This does create some unique challenges for our small rural churches, which are often vibrant faith communities. We in the Presbytery of Utah are working to come up with creative solutions to support our small rural churches in finding pastoral leadership, and we’re hoping this could be an effort replicated across the Rocky Mountain Synod, and perhaps throughout small and rural churches in the PC(USA). Knowing that every church is unique, different models are needed to bridge the gap between pastors and these churches.” “The Gospel from Utah” then lists three examples: a Ministry Playground, Rejuvenate and Recharge, and Preach B&B.

“The Gospel from Utah” calls the innovations “a win-win opportunity to explore the beauty of the American West as a local while serving a congregation of the faithful with your gifts!”

The Mid Councils Committee will also consider MC-01, “On Creating a General Assembly Administrative Commission on Mid Councils,” brought to the assembly by the Synod of the Northeast.

The overture would establish a permanent General Assembly Commission on Mid Councils for the purpose of “approving the acts of synods to organize, divide, unite, or combine presbyteries or portions of presbyteries” (G-3.0502e) and approving exceptions to the minimum composition of a presbytery (G-3.0301). Under the proposal, the commission is to be constituted no later than Dec. 31.

If it’s adopted by GA commissioners, the overture would amend the Standing Rules of the General Assembly to establish the commission with seven members serving four-year terms with eligibility for an additional four-year term.

“We are in a time when many presbyteries and synods are considering significant transformational changes,” the overture’s rationale states. “We are also in a time when many presbyteries and synods are considering how to handle decreased PC(USA) membership and decreased resources.”

“No matter the issue, the work that it takes to discern what God is calling a presbytery or synod to do and to make a new plan that all parties can agree upon is significant. It can take several years to achieve this,” the rationale states. “Once the presbyteries and synod are ready to act, they need approval that is swift.”

Most if not all the proposed commission’s work could be handled via Zoom, thereby requiring no additional funds.

The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly said it recognizes “the importance of responding to such needs of presbyteries that emerge in the times between general assemblies.” But it “also recognizes the increasing difficulties in recruiting members for both emerging and existing committees and commissions.”

In order to “appropriately and fully populate such a commission,” COGA recommends that the assembly “take into consideration existing committees and discern assigning limited commission powers to the appropriate body.”