Saturday, December 14, 2013
PCA GA for Beginners, Part 2
The work of the PCA is carried on at the denominational level by five permanent committees and five agencies. The five committees are: the Administrative Committee (AC), the Committee on Christian Education and Publications (CE&P), the Committee on Mission to North America (MNA), the Committee on Mission to the World (MTW), and the Committee on Reformed University Ministries (RUM, an admittedly unfortunate acronym). The five agencies are: Covenant College (CC), Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS), PCA Retirement & Benefits, Inc. (RBI), PCA Foundation (PCAF), and Ridge Haven Conference Center (RHCC). Each of these committees and agencies present a report to each GA. These reports include summaries of the activities of the committee or agency throughout the year, a budget for the coming year, and a set of recommendations for the coming year.
Before the official beginning of the assembly (that is, on Monday and Tuesday of the meeting week) these reports are reviewed by Committees of Commissioners (CoC), made up of either a TE or an RE from each of the presbyteries (see RAO 14 for more information). That means that theoretically each of these CoC has 80 members, though it is rarely the case that the number approaches that total. In 2013, for example, the CoC for the Permanent Committees consisted of the following numbers: AC-29, CE&P-21, MNA-25, MTW-38, and RUM-29.
It is the responsibility of the CoC to review the reports of the permanent committees and agencies. These reports are to be circulated at least one month prior to GA, so that the commissioners may have time to review and evaluate the reports, so that they are not unprepared when the time comes for the CoC to meet. The committee may ask representatives of the committee or agency questions regarding its report. The committee may also amend or change the recommendations that constitute part of the report of the committee or agency. Again, more detail appears in RAO 14.
For prospective commissioners to the GA, especially for those who will be serving on a CoC, it is your responsibility to make sure you are thoroughly acquainted with the material to be covered in the GA. For that reason, I recommend that commissioners register as early as possible. Them when you begin receiving material for GA, set apart time to review it. If you have questions about any of it, ask your pastor (if you are an RE) or ask a more seasoned minister in your presbytery (if you are a TE). Also make sure that you have familiarized yourself with the BCO and the RAO.
In addition to these CoC, there are other committees that meet annually for issues related to GA. These will be discussed in future posts.