Jul 6, 2010

Revised Form of Government Passes by Vote of 37-5 in Committee

After four years, the General Assembly Committee on the Revision of the Form of Government passes the new revised Form of Government for consideration to the plenary by a vote of 37-5.

Two years ago, at the 218th GA in San Jose, the Form of Government Committee spent all its committee time on whether they should refer the document. It was noted on the final day of committee toward the end of the afternoon by a member of the committee that they hadn't even cracked open the Form of Government. They never even considered the document. The entire time was spent on procedure.

This year, the committee leadership ensured that the committee would actually deal with the merits of the document before any motion to approve or disapprove the recommendations would be considered. In two days of deliberation, the committee actually strengthened and improved the document the Task Force sent in last August. It was discovered after the Task Force submitted our final report that there was some confusion created over the power of presbyteries over congregations due to an insertion of a footnote that said small "c" church in the revised Form of Government always referred to the denomination.

This created some confusion for it looked as though the presbyteries would have unprecedented power over congregations - which is opposite of what the Task Force intended. The Task Force always contended that ministries take place in the local church and that structures exist to enable ministry not to restrict it. This was a simple correction by amending the footnote (which the committee did).

The footnote originally read, "the lower-case term "church" refers to denominations. The committee simply deleted that portion of the footnote.

The plenary of the General Assembly will now have to decide whether they will send the revised FoG to the presbyteries for approval. That vote will take place tomorrow.

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