The committee on Social Justice Issues (Committee 11) dealt with many items of business in the two and a half days of its deliberations. But one of those items made its way to the committee’s attention twice.
“We dealt with item 11-06 yesterday and it moved along quickly, without as much consideration as I thought it might have,” explained committee member Ivan Herman, teaching elder from the Sacramento Presbytery.
Item 11-06, “On Instructing MRTI to Report to GAMC on the Corporate Practices of Publicly Traded Corporations That Operate For-Profit Prisons,” from the Presbytery of Hudson River, initially failed passage by a vote of 25 to 23, with 3 abstentions.
It seemed to Herman and to others that the vote was unusual enough, and close enough, that either the committee had not obtained enough information or it was simply divided on the issue. Herman thought that it was likely the former.
Committee 11 voted to reconsider 11-06.
“We knew that we needed more information and that there would be amendments necessary to make the overture amenable to all, so we made a motion to postpone the action until after lunch,” continued Herman.
Over lunch a group from the committee worked on crafting a new amendment. That group consisted of Herman, Susan Andrews (general presbyter of Hudson River Presbytery, which brought the overture to the committee in the first place) and a group that included six YAADs and a TSAD.
“The group was able to incorporate what they had learned, to use language that they knew would have a broad appeal with the committee,” explained Herman, who, for the most part, remained silent during the lunchtime meeting.
What was brought to the committee, and what passed with a 40-9 vote, was an amended overture perfected by the committee, but brought into being by the work of the dedicated group of YAADs.
“What I saw in the YAADs was that they were not always of the same mind, but they were willing to work together so that, in the end, we could come up with an overture that could very proudly be brought before the General Assembly,” shared Herman.