Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Mechanics of PCA GA

Those of you who were hoping for my post-mortem on GA will have to wait a couple of days, until I have had more time to process it.

This is a description for those who have never been to GA, expect never to go, and yet are somewhat curious about what goes on there. (Yes, I know. All twelve of you.)

The Assembly begins with a worship service on Tuesday evening. The departing moderator preaches, and the Lord’s Supper is observed. Following the worship service, the business begins. The first item is the announcement of attendance and determining of a quorum. (for the quorum requirements, see PCA BCO 14-5). This year the attendance was 991 TEs and 329 REs, which is fairly typical, though a bit higher than the last few years. Ostensibly, there should be an equal number of TEs and REs, but a 3-1 TE margin is typical.

After the announcement of the quorum, a new moderator is elected. The office alternates between RE and TE. Since last year’s moderator was a TE, this year’s moderator was RE Jim Wert, about whom I know almost nothing, except that he did a fine job as moderator. After the election of the moderator, clerks and parliamentarians are appointed, and the meeting is recessed for the evening.

Wednesday begins with the report of the stated clerk: statistics on the denomination, communications of various sorts, etc. Then the Interchurch Relations Committee gives its report, and we hear greetings from representatives of various denominations with which the PCA has fraternal relations.
After the report of IRC, the various committees of commissioners give their reports. These include an informational report from the permanent committee or agency, and the approval of recommendations for the coming year. These tend to be brief and for the most part non-controversial. The committee reports that generate debate are those of the Overtures Committee and the Committee on the Review of Presbytery Records. I’ll discuss those in the next few posts.

The last committee to report is the Committee on Thanks. This expresses thanks to the host presbytery and all those involved in making the GA run smoothly. RE Mel Duncan from Second PCA in Greenville, SC has become something of an unofficial permanent member of the Committee of Thanks, because he writes a good report, full of local color.

Though the Assembly is docketed to go through Friday at noon, the last several years there has been a concerted effort to finish early. This year, everything concluded about 11:45 Thursday evening.

In the next two posts, I’ll give my post-mortem on this year’s GA.

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