Monday, 17 September 2012

Correcting the Covener of the PCI General Board

I read in today's Newsletter that both the Catholic and Presbyterian Church have formed an unusual alliance to oppose equal marriage, whether a civil marriage or a religious grouping that wishes to do so, in joining the attack on the Scottish Parliament.

I do have one issue with Dr Donald Watts the Convener of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's General Board. The Newsletter says that when he wrote to the Westminster Government in March that:

"Dr Watts said he was writing on behalf of the most representative body of the church, the general board"

Sadly for Dr Watts this is not the case. The PCI's own website describes the General Board as:

The General Board is the most widely representative body under the Assembly, with over 160 members. This includes Assembly Conveners and Presbytery Clerks. This Board deals with both routine and exceptional matters that fall between meetings of the General Assembly; and may issue public statements on behalf of the Church. It may also deal with matters that concern two or more Boards, or matters that do not fall within the boundaries of a particular Board's work. It can call ministers to work as chaplains in hospitals, prisons and the Armed Forces and assesses the suitability of all appointments outside the Church's jurisdiction to which a minister may be called by some other Board. 

In 2012 the General Assembly had over 1,200 delegates  representing every congregation both clergy and session. This is the most widely representative body in the PCI. But the issue by being dealt with by the General Board was therefore not raised in the more public forum of the General Assembly where they would have been some descent possible to the course that the church decided to take.

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