We are working now on items that have to do with the polity of the church. These items would make changes in either the constitution or the Book of Order. We spent a long time deliberating over several overtures that addressed the issue of family leave for pastors and others in that level of employment. The teaching elders were insistent that action be taken on this now, as it had been kicked down the road several times, so an amendment specifying a minimum time that should be allowed, and it was further referred to a task force that would establish a more uniform policy.
Earlier today we heard debate on environmental issues, which involved a lengthy discussion on the divestment of PC(USA) funds from “producers of fossil fuels.” The main issue was whether or not we should direct the Mission Responsibility Through Divestment (MRTI), the group that handles our investments, to divest now or ask MRTI to continue to engage with the companies to encourage them to move toward more earth-friendly fuels. If you want more information on this issue, please google The Outlook from GA. We also passed overtures dealing with climate change.
We also heard overtures from the Social Issues Committee, another area that brought about significant discussion. At this hour of the night, I’m having trouble remembering exactly what we did, but I believe we passed a moratorium on executions, an overture to affirm and celebrate the full dignity and humanity of people of all gender identities, and an overture that addressed sexual misconduct in the church. This started out to be an overture that was about acts men made against women but ended up being broader to include sexual misconduct by anyone against anybody.
We are now discussion overtures from the Middle East Committee and not heard much that is divisive, which is surprising. It is now 12:05 AM and we are finished for the day.
Woops! Not so fast. My committee still has to meet to set the per capita for the next two years. P.S. I got back to my hotel at 1:35 and still had to pack to leave the next day.