In its decision, the commission interpreted that the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) does not grant a presbytery power to compel a session to transmit to the presbytery its assigned per capita apportionment (Book of Order, G-9.0404d). The power of a session to determine the distribution of a church’s benevolences includes the power to raise and transmit per capita funds.
Both parties in this case referred to per capita as “one of the sinews that binds the covenant community together.”
The commission concluded its decision by saying that “there is a high moral obligation based on the grace and call of God to participate fully in the covenant community …. To participate partially or not at all and yet claim to be within the covenant community represents a grievous misunderstanding of our reciprocal covenantal obligations under the singular Lordship of Jesus…. Therefore, withholding per capita as a means of protest or dissent evidences a serious breach of the trust and love with which our Lord Jesus intends the covenant community to function together.”