Now it has approved a plan for making that happen – fleshing out the process for switching from synods to a more flattened and collaborative organizational structure. The idea is to replace the denomination’s current 16 synods with five regional administrative commissions and “the necessary number” of judicial commissions.
The procedure being suggested also would try to address questions that have not yet been resolved – including who would serve on those commissions, staff them and pay for them.
Meeting Feb. 2 in Dallas, the commission approved a series of recommendations that would spell out how the PC(USA) would make the changes the commission is recommending.
Among those recommendations:
– The 2012 General Assembly would instruct its moderator to appoint two committees to work in consultation with the stated clerk, and to make recommendations to the General Assembly in 2014.
– One committee would make recommendations for appointing the regional administrative commissions. It also would make recommendations for facilitating and supporting racial ethnic ministries the current synods historically have supported.
– The second committee would make recommendations for appointing regional judicial commissions, which would serve as courts of appeal for presbytery judicial commissions.
– The 2012 General Assembly also would appoint a commission – with greater powers than a committee – that would have the power to reorganize, unite or divide presbyteries or synods. That could leave flexibility if, for example, the assembly wanted to continue having a language-based Korean synod.
– Synods would present to the 2014 General Assembly plans for transferring assets, funds, programs and projects to the appropriate entity. Those transitions would take place by the time the assembly meets in 2016.
Gradye Parsons, the PC(USA)’s stated clerk, presented the Mid-Council Commission with proposed language for it to consider in making these recommendations. Parsons said the Office of the General Assembly learned from its experience in shifting about 10 years ago from annual general assemblies to those meeting every-other-year that it’s wise to have a process in plan for filling in the details, after a big shift has been made.
The Mid-Councils Commission is meeting in Dallas Feb. 2-4, in the final stages of writing the report it will submit to the General Assembly in Pittsburgh this summer.
What’s up for discussion later in the day Feb. 2: more conversation involving a proposal (on which the commission has not yet voted) regarding non-geographic presbyteries and other “emerging ideas” for ministry.