From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Procedures Committee lets authoritative interpretation on per capita stand

Date 19 Jun 2002 12:48:12 -0400

Note #7270 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Procedures Committee lets authoritative interpretation on per capita stand

by Jane Hines

COLUMBUS, OH-The Assembly Committee on General Assembly Procedures approved a resolution Tuesday in response to Overture 2-15 asking the Assembly to set aside an authoritative interpretation requiring presbyteries to pay any per capita apportionment not paid by a session.  The resolution reads as follows:

"Whereas giving to the church must be based upon a joyful response to God's providence and grace, and whereas our polity is based upon connectional, covenantal relationship of governing bodies to one another and to higher governing bodies; the 214th General Assembly expresses its concern that for many reasons, churches do not pay their share of per capita.  

"Be it resolved that presbyteries are urged (1) to partner with those churches who struggle financially to pay per capita and (2) to work pastorally with those congregations who choose to withhold their per capita.  Individual sessions are reminded that to withhold per capita puts at jeopardy the connectional and covenantal nature of our church that is affirmed by our ordination vows.  

"We call on General Assembly agencies, synods and presbyteries to work to alleviate the problems that lead to withholding so that the church may proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.  We believe that at such a time as this, it is not wise or prudent to change the current understanding of the way per capita is collected and transmitted.  Nevertheless, presbyteries are encouraged to raise per capita payments from churches through voluntary payments in the spirit of II Corinthians 9:7: 'Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (NIV).'"

The committee recommended disapproval of Overture O2-49, which would direct the Office of the General Assembly to prepare a study of costs and consequences of litigation related to G-6.0106b, the section of the Book of Order requiring church officers to practice "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness." 

The committee recommended that the Assembly adopt the following comment:

"The 214th General Assembly is deeply concerned with the pain and financial hardship this is caused because of the increasing litigation currently taking place in our church.  We therefore call all parties in disagreement to be mindful of the principles of church discipline and to strive unceasingly to be reconciled to each other."

The statement specifically encourages parties to consider carefully and prayerfully the provisions of D-1.0103 of the Book of Order, dealing with conciliation and mediation.

Overture 02.016 on amending G-13.0111a regarding election to the General Assembly Nominating Committee was changed by the committee to a recommendation for change that was included in advice on the matter from the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.

In other action the committee:

* Disapproved Commissioners' Resolution 02-11 on increasing the number of at-large members of the Committee on Ecumenical Relations;

* Disapproved Commissioners' Resolution 02-18 on the definition of chastity found in the constitution;

* Amended Commissioners' Resolution 02-2 on requiring nonprofit financial data from organizations;

* Approved a resolution endorsing the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia.

The committee meet again at 7 a.m. on Saturday to finalize recommendations for the 2003 per capita budget.
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