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A Word From Your Principal Clerk – General Synod 2012 by the numbers

A few Synod statistics…it really doesn’t make for good reading. For General Synod 2012, the constituted roll contained 252 ministers and 127 ruling elders for a total attendance of 379.

Here’s where the embarrassment begins. More than half of the total possible number of delegates for 2012 did not attend. Not a single counted vote came close to the number enrolled, (379), and at every session, delegates were seen in places other than the meeting in session.

When the challenge to a quorum (one-fourth of the ministers of the General Synod and elders from at least one-fourth of the congregations) was made at Thursday’s scheduled evening meeting, the number necessary to constitute a quorum was 121 ministers and 72 elders. Present at that point were 104 ministers and 66 elders.

By the time dinner was over on the second day of scheduled business (Thursday evening), 148 ministers had departed along with 61 elders. Over half of the ministers and elders left after staying for what was actually only one full day of business.

That business consisted of dealing with the reports from SOME of the special committees and two Boards. This meant that due to the lack of a quorum, 17 items of business were not considered. Only two Boards, Executive and Erskine, were debated and voted on; no Standing Committee reports were received. The proposed new Form of Government, which was to be adopted and sent to the Presbyteries for their vote, is now back in the hands of the committee.

The following letter was emailed by me to the chairmen of those committees and boards:

Gentlemen:

My deepest apologies that your report was not handled by Synod 2012. As you are probably aware this is only the second time, recently at least, that a quorum call was made which ceased all further work of the Synod.

In response to the other (2010), a decision to print unhandled reports for informational purposes only was made. The decision for 2012 has not yet been made. But in my opinion, as all the materials were distributed and none of them were considered or acted upon, such a printing would not offset the additional effort or cost to reproduce again.

Therefore, I’m advising the ARP Center that the Minutes of Synod 2012 reflect only the business that was actually done.

Now, what is to be done with the unfinished business? As there exists no method of handling your reports for 2012, short of a called meeting of the Synod (which I do not see happening, at least for now), may I suggest that unless there are matters, financial or otherwise, that the Executive Board needs to handle as emergency actions on behalf of Synod, you simply place in your reports to Synod 2013 any materials you think ought to be carried over. If there are matters which the Executive Board could declare to be of an emergency nature and thus acted upon, please contact the center as soon as possible so that such matters may be scheduled for the Executive Board.

Thank you for your time and talent in serving our Lord through your work.

JULY/AUGUST 2012

It is notable that Synod in years past was in session from the Monday evening worship through Friday evening (or afternoon if we behaved our- selves), and never was there any need for a quorum call.

Now we have more churches, more possible delegates, more ministers, more reports to deal with, and instead of four days of work, we have only two scheduled, and we cannot even commit to attend that.

A ruling elder stood on the floor several years ago and quoted The Best of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”?

About the Author

C. Ronald Beard serves as Principle Clerk of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

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