Calvary Presbytery members believe that the best place for extended debate on recommendations from study committees is in the Overtures Committee, rather than the General Assembly floor. But certain members have noticed that over time the habit of working out the details has begun happening at a higher level too.

“Last year, we had a wonderful ad interim committee report that was an attempt to find common ground and promote the purity and peace of the church, but most of the debate [at General Assembly] was procedural and somewhat non-related to the meaning of the report,” says Melton Duncan, clerk of Calvary.

In response, Calvary has submitted an overture proposing that the Rules of Assembly Operation be revised so that all recommendations from future ad interim committees initially be considered through the Overtures Committee. By doing this, the Overtures Committee would have the first opportunity to work out any problems in the grammar or procedure of a given study before passing it along for consideration at General Assembly.

“Almost a decade ago, the General Assembly wisely made the decision to delegate debate to the Overtures Committee,” Duncan explains. “There’s a certain kind of person who’s able to do all of the details and grammar. The Overtures Committee would bring a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote to the General Assembly, and that way the majority of the commissioners could vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and not get caught up in procedural wranglings and point of orders.”

The overture says that the end goal is to make the General Assembly’s reception of study committee findings “more efficient and expedient.”

Read the full text of the Overture 6 here.