by Jerry Van Marter, PNS
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Mid Council Commission (formerly Middle Governing Body Commission) has voted unanimously to eliminate synods and vest their ecclesiastical functions in five regional administrative commissions of the General Assembly.
But by a vote of 11-8, the commission rejected a proposal from its constitutional issues group, led by commission chair Tod Bolsinger of Los Ranchos Presbytery, that it recommend “the organization of non-geographic presbyteries and other covenant communities of congregations for missional purposes.”
The issue will almost certainly be revisited when the commission gathers in Dallas in February to prepare its final report to the 220th General Assembly next summer in Pittsburgh.
Under the synod proposal to the Assembly ― including a number of constitutional amendments which will have to be ratified by presbyteries ― the PC(USA) will move to a three-tiered governance system of sessions, presbyteries and the General Assembly.
If the measure passes the Assembly and the enabling amendments are ratified by the presbyteries, the 16 synods and their constituent presbyteries will be charged to develop transition plans to transfer assets, funds, projects and programs and report those plans to the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland.
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