Background on Policy Revision & Input Request
The June 11, 2015, meeting of the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina approved a revision of its previous Separation Policy which had become unusable due to recent decisions of the PC(USA) Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) rulings called “Tom” and “McGee.” At the same time, the Presbytery invited members and sessions to comment on the new policy and ordered the Mission Cabinet to report on these comments to the October 10, 2015, meeting of the Presbytery.
A notice was sent to all clerks of session and all minister members of the Presbytery asking for comments on the Separation Policy.
The following comments were received and carefully considered by the revision team as it prepared a report for the Mission Cabinet:
- Todd Camplin from Bensalem
- Tim Havlicek from First, Morehead City
- Glen Hallead from St. Andrews-Sanford
- Barbara Hedin from Cypress
- McMillan Church Session
- St. Andrews-Sanford Session
- Alexander Stewart from Union
- Chris Stewart from Cypress
In addition to these comments from individuals and sessions it is important to recognize that there are constitutional provisions that must be honored in any Separation or Dismissal Policy. The following documents point to some of these concerns and were taken into account by the revision team in making its report to the Mission Cabinet.
- Actions of the General Assembly regarding Gracious Separation Policies
- PJC Ruling Means Presbyteries must balance ‘gracious dismissal’ with ‘due diligence’ (Outlook)
- Annotated Book Of Order on Dismissals
- Official Records – Historical Society
- PJC Ruling in Tom v San Francisco
- PJC Ruling in McGee v NYC
- PCUS Trust Clause (Pages from the 1982-83 Book of Order PCUS)
- Advisory Opinion 19- Implementing the Trust Clause for the Unity of the Church
A Working Group agreed to propose to the Mission Cabinet the a revised version of the policy for adoption by the Presbytery at its October stated meeting. The working group was made up of Glen Hallead, Clarence Page, Paul Shields, Chris Denny, Ann Jahnes, and Kathryn Dudley.
After reviewing comments sent to the Presbytery following the June 11, 2015, Presbytery meeting and consulting actions of the General Assembly and the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) they made a number of proposed changes to the Separation Policy. This document was then reviewed by the Mission Cabinet which made a couple of additional clarifications and now presents it to the Presbytery for action on October 10, 2015.
A comparison of the two policies (the one adopted in June and this revision can be found here.