Friday, July 02, 2010

Final Report

Well, the 38th General Assembly of the PCA is adjourned.

Here are some highlights:

1) The Assembly instructed the AC to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of holding Assemblies every other year.

2) The new funding proposal for the AC was approved, requiring some amendments to our standards which will have to be ratified by the Presbyteries and voted on again next year. This basically will require each church to pay a percentage of their annual budget to fund the AC in order for their elders participate at the Assembly.

3) Overture 20 (to study the possibility of virtual attendance at GA) failed.

4) Overture 24 (17-point call to renewal in the PCA) was adopted with amendments.

5) All of the Themes, Goals, and Means of the Strategic Plan were adopted with the following exceptions:

Means (Specific) #4 under Theme #2: Establish standards for voluntary certification of men and women for specific non-ordained vocational ministries. Failed.

Means (Specific) #2 under Theme #3: Ruled out of order. (It dealt with AC funding which had already been addressed).

6) The MNA committee recommended that Overtures 12, 17, and 22 be answered in the affirmative with amendments. This passed. The substance is that the Department of Defense has asked the religious organizations which sponsor military chaplains to give insight into the impact of removing the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy and allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the Armed Forces. A letter was submitted in these overtures to answer that inquiry. Some of the language in the letter was tweaked and it was approved by the Assembly. We normally don't approve letters to politicians or the government, but in this case that government has asked the church for its input, so it was deemed proper by the Assembly.

7) This brings us to the Overtures referred to the Overture Committee. See my post below for the Overtures Committee's recommendation for each overture. All of the recommendations I list below were adopted by the Assembly.

In order to understand what this means in each case, you'll need to review the Overtures and the committee's recommendation. However, I'll summarize a few key overtures.

Overture 15, which is a significant rewrite of BCO Chapter 5, was passed.

Overtures 7, 2, 9, 13, and 16 all had to do with women and the diaconate. All were answered by reference to the Assembly's answer to #7. Seven was answered in the affirmative with an amendment. The result is that the Assembly approved an amendment to BCO 9-7 adding the following language: "These assistants to the deacons are not officers of the church (BCO 7-2) and, as such, are not subjects for ordination (BCO 17)."

If you didn't already know we don't ordain women to the office of deacon, this might come as a surprise to you. But the fact is, this language changes nothing of substance in our polity.

That's the substance of this General Assembly. Women's relationship to diaconal ministry, the Strategic Plan together with the new AC funding proposal, and a letter to the government on homosexuality in the military.

Next year GA is the first week in June at Virginia Beach. See you then!

2 comments:

Janice said...

Thanks for doing this, Matt! Yours is the only blog in my reader that blogged any of the actions of the assembly. Four of our guys attended so we'll get a report next Sunday night as well.

What did you think of the IG hymn sing? Which artists played?

Matthew Bradley said...

No problem, Janice. Glad you found it helpful.

The IG Hymn Sing was amazing. Best I can tell, EVERYONE was there. They even commented a few times on how nice it was to have everyone there together, more than 10 years after it all started. Seeing them all together at the Ryman (where the Grand Ol' Opry used to be hosted) was a great opportunity and not to be missed.