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Switch to Forum Live View GA219 Overtures regarding the role of the Synod
5 years ago  ::  Mar 01, 2010 - 9:50PM #1
sterrettc
Posts: 89

Several overtures are coming before the 219th General Assembly that address the role of the Synod.


Overture 4 proposes allowing synods to greatly reduce their function, to the limit of providing for a Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) and for the Administrative Review of the presbyteries.  Furthermore, it would allow several contiguous synods to work together to have one PJC representing the group of synods, and to share administrative services.  This overture comes from the Synod of Rocky Mountains, with concurrence from the Synod of Mid-America and the Presbyteries of Eastminster and Muskingum Valley.


Overture 5 proposes getting rid of Synods alltogether.  The rational includes the following: "Regional permanent judicial commissions, if genuinely deemed necessary, could replace synod judicial commissions."  This Overture comes from New Hope Presbytery, with concurrence from Eastern Virginia.


Overture 36 proposes creating a new, non-geographic synod, but I think discussion of it is more logically grouped with Overture 45 which proposes making presbyteries more non-geographic, so I will start another thread for discussion of them.


 


 

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 21, 2010 - 10:35PM #2
DeweyCMH
Posts: 64

If I were a commissioner, I'd vote in favor of #5, but I'd settle for #4 if the former didn't pass.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 23, 2010 - 6:16PM #3
sterrettc
Posts: 89

That is interesting.  I was a commissioner for two years to the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii, and was frustrated by the fraction of discussion at the assembly that was on how we were going to be doing a lot less.  I was disappointed since there are some things that can be done better at a larger regional level.


Since then, I have come to the conclusion that the primary responsibility for urban ministry in Los Angeles should be taken up by the Synod.  The city itself is in three presbyteries, with the metropolitan area extending to two more.  The area I have been involved in is at the intersection of the three presbyteries.  None of the presbyteries is very involved, each seeming to prefer to pay attention to the more affluent areas.  They need the affluent areas to provide human and monetary resorces for the efforts in the impoverished and high-crime areas, but the way it is, it seems as if each presbytery thinks that the needy areas are in the other presbyteries.


I understand the idea that ministry is done more efficiently and more effectively at the local level, but I think that that is an oversimplification that has not proved to be generally true.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 23, 2010 - 7:17PM #4
DeweyCMH
Posts: 64

I respect your thoughts about the potential value of the synod in the LA example, and I agree that there are certainly things that could be done more effectively at a level above presbytery. But the reality is that more *isn't* being done, and the synod is more of an expense than the benefit it provides in the church carrying out its mission. Perhaps they served a more vital purpose in the past, when the total number of members, and the sizes of presbyteries, were larger than they are today - and maybe under different circumstances, they couldbe more useful. But at least in my own admittedly limited experience with them, I just don't see their worth. As an example, the issue you raise regarding LA could be resolved by having an effective synod coordinating the efforts of various presbyteries - or it could be resolved by consolidating and reshaping presbyteries to reflect the realities and needs of today's denomination, which resulted in one presbytery having responsibility for the entire city and surrounding, more affluent area.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 01, 2010 - 11:07PM #5
CalKnox
Posts: 330

The problem of effective ministry in a place like LA might be better accomplished by a joint agreement between the presbyteries concerned.  There was a time when most synods covered a single state, which included fewer presbyteries.  Today, most Presbyterian denominations function fairly well without synods.


Do synods serve any function today other than providing jobs for people who don't function well in pastoral ministry?  If not, the PCUSA can't afford them.


 

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