GA 2010: UPDATED: For synods and presbyteries, the work has just begun

MINNEAPOLIS—The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved today (July 8) the formation of a commission to aid synods and presbyteries as they explore options for their future. The motion passed soundly 566 to 104.

After the vote, Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons commented, “The whole vision is to empower presbyteries and synods. We’ve had committees to study these issues over the years. This commission can act and really help the governing bodies.” He also mentioned that needs are greater now, “resources, both human and financial, are strained and the recession has brought these needs that much quicker.”

Some concerns were expressed that a commission may have too much power. However, the wording of the motion was amended to make it clear that the commission may act only at the invitation of the presbytery or synod in question.

Young Adult Advisory Delegate Breeann Wright, of Stockton Presbytery, said her concern was that “this takes a great amount of power and places it in the hands of a small number of people.”

Some fears that the commission may have too much power were answered in discussion and with the clear limitations placed in the motion. Cliff Lyda, minister commissioner of Chicago Presbytery, pointed out that “the focus of this commission is not one of going out looking for trouble. The focus is on how it might help, how it can assist with needs in a timely way.”

Passage of this motion allows the formation of a commission to address issues of resources and geography in presbyteries and synods that are under stress, at the singular invitation of those governing bodies.

This commission will also oversee the Special Committee on the Administrative Review of the Synod of Boriquen in Puerto Rico (SCARB). James Bell, GA Middle Governing Bodies Issues committee vice-moderator, commended this to the assembly saying, “We believe this represents the best effort to bring peace in the church in Puerto Rico.”


Finally, the assembly disapproved a recommendation not to form a non-geographic Korean language presbytery. The assembly voted 125-514-7, which means they actually approved the formation of the presbytery.