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September 17, 2007: Form of Government Task Force

I received in the mail a letter asking congregations to look at the proposed changes and revisions to the Form of Government.

On paper, the attempt to streamline the way we do things and to simplify the Constitution makes sense. In reality, it ignores the reasons why the Book of Order has grown.

Additions to the Book of Order happen as a result of conflict within the church. No one whimsically goes through the effort of proposing an amendment to a presbytery so it can overture the General Assembly so it can pay the expenses of an Overture Advocate so, if the General Assembly approves it, it can take the lead in advocating the change through the voting of the 173 presbyteries.

I have not downloaded the draft yet. My plan is to accept the invitation of the Form of Government Task Force and have the session of Chula Vista Presbyterian Church review and respond. They will receive it as an assignment next Tuesday to be completed by the last Tuesday in October.

I commend the Form of Government Task Force for soliciting input; they recognize "We don't pretend to have all the answers. We need your help." (Emphasis in original).

I hope their work is not an exercise in futility. It is hard to imagine how even the most wonderful revisions could re-instill a sense of trust in a system that has been horribly compromised by trust-destroying behavior. I confess that I will be looking at this to see where are the hidden loopholes and intentionally ambiguous language.

Can a revision of a mostly-ignored Book of Order restore trust? Stay tuned.