Southwest Presbytery has submitted two overtures that concern Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) Procedure. Overture 8 would change the way SJC decisions are finalized – for more information on that overture, click here. Overture 9 would give the Committee on Constitutional Business (CCB) broader scope in reviewing SJC minutes.

Since the adoption of recommendations from the Ad-Interim Committee on Judicial Procedures in 1996, the CCB has reviewed the SJC Minutes for conformity to the procedures adopted by the General Assembly in the SJC Manual. Teaching Elder Mark Rowden, who drafted this overture and served as the most recent Chairman of the CCB, argues that this review should extend to portions of the minutes that make reference to cases before the SJC. Rowden contends that provisions of the Rules of Assembly Operation (RAO) that address SJC Minutes review are contradictory.  “According to the RAO, the CCB, when reviewing the SJC minutes, is supposed to have a way to take exception to a case,” Rowden says. “But under wording in the same paragraph of the RAO, any possibility of doing that is excluded.” Rowden’s overture would continue to exclude examination of the detailed record of cases before the SJC, but would allow review of reference to and summaries of cases that appear in the Minutes.

Rowden asserts that the SJC’s limited accountability is unique among PCA Committees and Agencies. He authored this overture and Overture 8 to correct this perceived problem.