General Council 44 Adjourns until July 21, 2022
From June 17 to 19, 2022, Commissioners and Corresponding Members, including ecumenical and interfaith guests, global partners, and representatives of Youth Forum, focused on in-depth discussion on the proposals facing GC44. The phase of General Council referred to as the Discussion sessions opened on June 17 with diverse and engaging worship and reflections by Honorary Elders Elenor Thompson and Ray Jones. After the business session involved updating the Procedural Motion to include a number of new reports, including receipt of 2021 audited financial statements, and a Consent Agenda and notice of the closing of nominations for Moderator, the Council engaged in a series of small group discussions.
While some advice was provided through a prioritization survey completed by Commissioners, small groups discerned their own agenda, making decisions on how much discussion time to give to each of the proposals in front of GC44. The Equity Team circulated through the groups providing encouragement, and a brief equity survey was offered each night for comment and potential course correction. The general sense was that although sometimes difficult group discussions went well, with Commissioners able to learn more about proposals and grapple with their implications.
On June 19, these Discussion sessions closed with a final plenary session. Notes from each small group will now be provided to a Facilitation Team who are anticipated to report a “Way Forward” on June 28. This Way Forward will give shape to the Decision sessions scheduled for July 21‒25, 2022.
In the concluding session of this phase, Commissioners witnessed a stole being placed on the one nominee for the 44th Moderator of the church, the Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne. The election for Moderator, consistent with the Manual requirement, will be held on July 23, 2022. In closing comments, Honorary Elder Elenor Thompson said: “I have listened and learned a lot. My heart was directed to different places of focus. I thoroughly enjoyed the time and I look forward to the July session…. We can work and walk together in this great church of ours.“ Through the chat function, many Commissioners expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to engage deeply with other members of the church on the critical questions facing the denomination. Despite the virtual nature of the Council, Commissioners and Corresponding members were able to share faith stories and build community while attending to the important work of the Council.