On 23 September, the Presbytery of the West concurred unanimously with the overture presented by the Northwest Presbytery. This brings our total number of overtures to three at Synod.
Much has happened in the last month since our last email update. Let’s cut straight to the chase:
- Texas Presbytery’s overture has successfully been submitted to Synod by receiving concurrence from the Upper Midwest on 8/26/17.
- East Central Presbytery’s overture has successfully been submitted to Synod as well, by receiving concurrence from Northern California/Nevada on 9/9/17.
- Mid-America Presbytery has advanced a new overture which you can see at https://www.theology-eco.org/overtures/. The language of this overture is carried over from a proposal by First and Calvary Church in Springfield, MO, and has been on the website for many months.
- Concurrence is expected for a number of other overtures. It is likely we will see around 5 or 6 overtures at Synod. The details of how the vote will take place will be clarified when the Theology Task Force meets with the Synod Executive Council and their parliamentarian in mid-October.
Deadlines are fast approaching:
- September 27th is the final day for new overtures to be advanced.
- October 27th is the final day for concurrence. These dates are determined by the rules that Synod adopted early on. They are available from ECO’s head office.
- If these dates do not work with your current plans, you may need to call a special presbytery meeting.
Remember that Texas Presbytery’s overture asks to adopt a special rule for voting. That means that, per Robert’s Rules, their vote will go first, and if successful, no other overtures can be considered because they imply a different voting format. But even if Texas’ overture is successful, that doesn’t mean all the work of other presbyteries and overtures is made meaningless. All of your work on providing rationale for which documents should be in and out of our new collection of confessions will be vital in helping frame the conversations that happen at Synod. Also, many of the overtures have motions outside of the basic content of the book. Be sure to look at these, as some ask for the modification of polity, modern language versions, and other important considerations.
I know this process has been frustrating for some, and a lot of questions have yet to be answered. As with much in ECO, it seems to be a learning process as we go. Thank you for your patience and flexibility. A good consensus is developing, if not in procedure, at least in much of the content of our future collection of confessions. If you have questions about the parliamentary procedures that will be followed at Synod, please wait until mid–October when the procedure will be discussed at length, and address such questions to the Synod Executive Council.
Finally, check out the spreadsheet that summarizes the overtures that has just been uploaded: https://www.theology-eco.org/overtures/
Mission Presbytery has unanimously approved an overture on ECO's Confessional Standards. At least one more presbytery must approve this overture for it to be considered at Synod 2018. Please read their proposal on our overtures site.
The national TTF of ECO has voted to hire Rev. Dr. G.P. Wagenfuhr as its part–time Resource Coordinator for a period of one year to facilitate the work of the TTF, especially in serving the denomination as it engages in the "Considering the Confessions" project.
G.P. Wagenfuhr has been an active member of the TTF for two years, acting as the project editor for the "Considering the Confessions" booklet the TTF has produced. In that document he wrote the introduction to the Westminster Standards, the Theological Declaration of Barmen, and the Brief Statement of Faith, as well as producing the chart detailing the support of the Essential Tenets in each Confession.
He is the creator of this website and will provide an active presence to facilitate conversations, and address questions that may arise during this important project.