The 44th General Assembly approved Overture 45 by an 814-87 vote, with 15 abstentions. The overture authorized the General Assembly moderator to create a “Racial and Ethnic Reconciliation study committee, comprised of multiple ethnicities, with ruling elder participation.”
The study committee will assess the current situation in the denomination regarding racial reconciliation, identify specific problems that need to be addressed, and “develop constructive guidelines and suggest concrete steps for the use of the PCA, including all presbyteries and sessions, in order to make progress toward the work of racial reconciliation.”
Through the overture the General Assembly also urges each presbytery and session to form similar study committees to consider how to make progress toward racial reconciliation in their specific contexts.
During debate in Overtures Committee, commissioners expressed concern that a national study committee would not convey the importance of individual churches and presbyteries working out repentance at the local level. But other commissioners worried about the message the denomination would send if it failed to study the matter at the national level.
The two sides came together as a five-person subcommittee appointed by Overtures Chairman Irwyn Ince and hammered out an overture that would speak to both concerns.
The study committee will report its findings to the 45th General Assembly. The study committee voting members are Carl Ellis, Alexander Jung, Sean Lucas, Jonathan Seda, Richie Sessions, Alex Shipman, and Kevin Smith. Russ Whitfield, Sylvester Brown, and Otis Pickett are advisory members.