The Presbyteries' Cooperative Committee has received a number of statements of concern regarding the decision to use Judges 19:1-30 as the passage for the Winter 2023 Bible Exegesis exam. Those statements have been shared with all members of the committee for their review in advance of the committee's annual meeting. During an "open meeting" portion of the PCC Annual Meeting (scheduled as an "order of the day" for 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 14), the committee will be discussing how those concerns should shape the development of future standard ordination exams.
The "open meetings" policy established by the General Assembly relates to the ability of persons interested in matters before national committees of the church to observe those deliberations. It does not require or establish an opportunity for such persons to address those committees such as is provided through the "public hearings" standing rule for committees during a meeting of the General Assembly itself. However, the PCC Executive Committee will be bringing a proposal arising from suggestions that have been raised for which the PCC has sought public comment. That proposal relates to a statement about how some candidates may be impacted by the subject matter in some exam questions. So, the PCC has provided an opportunity for those interested in that proposal to provide public testimony relating specifically to it.
In order to have the most equitable availability of this opportunity, the PCC implemented the practice for "public hearings" that was utilized during the "hybrid" 225th General Assembly (2022). All statements were required to be submitted as video recordings that will be viewed by PCC members and other interested persons in advance of the "open meeting" session. This pre-recorded structure required some specific actions to be completed by those desiring to speak, including meeting deadlines well in advance of the convening of the plenary session of the PCC. These statements are now being made available not only to the members of the PCC but to all persons interested in viewing them. Two links are provided below in the "Public Hearing Testimony" section below:
- "Proposed Statement Regarding Exam Content," which presents some background to the proposal to be considered by the committee and its full content
- "Testimony Recordings," which presents the recorded "public comments" submitted to the PCC "in favor" and "opposed" to the proposal
The PCC also received a number of written statements regarding the Winter 2023 Bible Exegesis exam both preceding the development of the specific proposal and during the "public comment" period that will inform the committee's deliberations regarding this proposal and other responses to concerns related to the exam. Links to those documents may be found in the "Written Statements to PCC" section below.
UPDATE: During its session on Tuesday, March 14, the PCC gave final approval to a statement of apology. The full text of the statement is in the "Items for Consideration" section below. The committee "postponed definitely" action on the "Motion regarding Registration Process Addition" (pending receipt of proposed amendments) and further steps to its next plenary business session of this Annual Meeting on Thursday, March 16, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. That session will be livestreamed.
View the Livestream of the Meeting: https://www.pcusa.org/exams
Public Hearing Testimony
Written Statements to the PCC
Items for Consideration
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