When the 225th General Assembly met this summer it approved 33 proposed amendments to the Book of Order. If that number seems high, it is! Because of the pandemic, the 224th General Assembly that met in 2020 restricted the items that could be placed on the docket and deferred all other pending items of business to the next assembly. That means that this year’s commissioners were asked to consider four years-worth of overtures and as a result we have more proposed amendments than we would ordinarily have following an assembly. Those items of business also include the reports of two taskforces that have been working for several years on revising the Rules of Disciple (the only section of the Book of Order that we have not significantly revised in the last 10 years) and improving our practices by listening to the stories and recommendations of survivors of sexual misconduct.
In order to give ample time for the presbytery to consider and debate all of these amendments, the Coordinating Council has decided to split the voting into two presbytery meetings (November 2022 and February 2023). The Moderator of Presbytery has appointed a Bills & Overtures Committee and asked them to develop a plan to provide education to the presbytery on these proposed amendments and to decide exactly how they will be split between these two meetings. Watch for more information to come from the Bills & Overtures Committee in the coming weeks. In the meantime, however, I encourage all presbyters to begin to educate themselves by clicking here to download the full text of the proposed amendments. I also encourage sessions to spend some time discerning who among them the Spirit is calling to attend the presbytery meetings where we will vote on these amendments.