On the last day of the 39th PCA General Assembly it considered a number of overtures that had been referred to the Overtures Committee. This is a ‘Super’ Committee of Commissioners with two representatives from each Presbytery, one Teaching Elder and one Ruling Elder, eligible to serve.
Overture 2 was answered in the negative. This overture from South Florida Presbytery asked the General Assembly to establish term limits for the four Program Coordinators (Christian Education, Mission to North America, Mission to the World, and Reformed University Ministries) and the Stated Clerk. To approve term limits would have required amending the Rules of Assembly Operation (RAO). The Overtures Committee reasoned that the overture would limit the options of the Assembly by prohibiting the extension of qualified men beyond the 10 year limit recommended in the overture.
Overture 4 was answered in the affirmative. This overture was from Nashville Presbytery recommending that BCO 19-11 be amended to give Presbyteries discretion when examining men transferring their internship into the Presbytery. Since this is an amendment to the BCO it must be approved by two-thirds of the Presbyteries and the next General Assembly.
Overture 8 was answered with a statement. This overture came from Iowa Presbytery and asked that BCO 59, “Solemnization of Marriage,” be given full constitutional status. The following statement was approved:
Westminster Confession of Faith Westminster 24, Larger Catechism 137-139, and Westminster Shorter Catechism 70-72 speak clearly to the Presbyterian Church in America’s understanding of the nature of marriage. As such, they may and should be referenced by any person needing to explain to any civil authority the Presbyterian Church in America’s understanding of marriage. Further, the second ordination vow makes clear that all Teaching Elders in the Presbyterian Church in America are bound by WCF 24, WLC 137-139, and WSC 70-72 even when in the service of the civil magistrate.
Overture 10 was answered in the affirmative. This overture was from New Jersey Presbytery asking that BCO 12-4 be amended to provide temporary governance for churches without Ruling Elders. If approved by the Presbyteries, this amendment would clarify the ability of Presbyteries to assist churches with insufficient number of elders.
Overture 11 was answered by reference to the action taken by the Committee of Commissioners for the Administrative Committee. This overture was from Pittsburgh Presbytery suggesting an alternative plan to fund the GA Administrative Committee. Since the Cooperative Ministries Committee (CMC) has already undertaken to gather and review alternative funding plans in order to recommend a plan to next year’s General Assembly, the one suggested by Pittsburgh was referred to the CMC.