Page 10 - Presbyterian Connection
P. 10

General Assembly to Meet Online in 2022
 By the Rev. Stephen Kendall, Principal Clerk, General Assembly
The year 2021 will be remembered, among many other things, as the first year in our history that the General As- sembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada was held online. The global pandemic continues to move much of the life of the church online and, in 2022, this will once again be the case with the General Assembly.
Assembly Council, on January 19, agreed that the Moderator be re- quested to convene an online General Assembly to be held June 5–8, 2022. After discussions with the university where we had hoped to meet in per- son, and following prayer and dis- cussion, the Council could not, with confidence, recommend planning to meet in person this year, much as we would have liked to.
Since this is not our first experi- ence holding an online General As- sembly, the learnings and feedback from 2021 will inform the format of
the upcoming online gathering.
As always, commissioners will be responsible for the business of the Assembly and its decisions. There will also be worship, ecumenical and interfaith guests, young adult and student representatives and new op- portunities for fellowship. The wider church will have the opportunity to follow the Assembly through live
The General Assembly Office will
continue to work with the General Assembly Design Team on making the online gathering as meaningful and effective as possible under these circumstances.
In 2021, very significant matters of business came before the Assembly, along with a backlog of overtures, reports and recommendations from 2019 and earlier. This resulted in a great number of decisions that had to be made in the time we’d spent together. We do not expect this to be the case this year. Standing Commit- tees are being asked to tailor their re-
ports for an online Assembly, where possible and reasonable, by limiting the number of recommendations and the scope of business to those is- sues that need to be considered this year. Committees will also be asked to prepare a list of consent recom- mendations consisting of topics they think could be decided upon together and possibly without debate. Com- missioners will be permitted to ask that recommendations be removed from any Consent Agenda.
Commissioners are ultimately re- sponsible for the Assembly. They will need to authorize its very existence when it starts, decide on the busi- ness to be considered and approve any procedures that will be neces- sary to facilitate the online Assembly., the online platform that we used last year, will be used again for presenting the reports and rec- ommendations to commissioners in real time and for voting. Every com- missioner will be trained in its use, and provided with briefing opportu-
In 2021, The Presbyterian Church in Canada held its first online General Assembly.
 nities related both to the reports and functioning of the online Assembly in order to ensure a sufficient level of confidence in this important work.
The General Assembly Office looks forward, once again, to working with
a team of volunteers and staff to help the Assembly be a positive and mem- orable experience. As plans continue to develop and unfold, the Assembly website will be updated at the GA2022 web page at
Portrait of Tamiko Corbett from 1996, the first non-minister to be elected as moderator of the General Assembly.
enriched by the faith, gifts and expe- rience each moderator brings to this ecclesiastical office.
This year, since only one person re- ceived nominations from two or more presbyteries, the election process was not needed. This has happened from time to time. In 2021, the Gen- eral Assembly authorized the use of online voting. This will likely take place on an experimental basis next year.
  How is the Moderator Chosen?
   The Rev. John Cook, the PCC’s first moderator, elected in 1857.
mit up to two nominations for moder- ator. The presbytery, after contacting their nominees to confirm they are willing to let their names stand, will submit a biographical sketch for each one. Minister nominees are to be on the constituent roll of a presbytery at the time the Assembly is held, and elder nominees are to be on the constituent roll of a Session. A can- didate must be nominated by at least two presbyteries before their name is added to the ballot.
Ballots are then circulated to pres- byteries. Every minister and elder on the constituent roll of a presbytery is eligible to vote. All ballots must be returned to the General Assembly Office by midnight on March 31. A preferential system of voting is used. This means that unless one candi- date receives 50% + 1 of first-place votes on the first round, the nominee with the fewest votes is excluded and their second-place votes are distrib- uted among the other candidates for second-round count. This process continues until one nominee has a majority of votes. The ballots are counted by the Committee to Advise with the Moderator, which is appoint-
Portrait taken in 1992 of the Rev. Linda Bell, the first woman to be elected as moderator of the General Assembly.
ed by each General Assembly. On April 1, the name of this candidate is announced.
When the Assembly meets, the moderator of the previous Assembly will present the nominee for election by the commissioners. Thus elected, the new moderator is installed with covenant promises and prayers for God’s blessing and guidance. The church continues to be wonderfully
By the Rev. Don Muir,
Deputy Clerk, General Assembly
In 1875, the Rev. John Cook was elected to serve as moderator of the first General Assembly of The Pres- byterian Church in Canada. Every
year since then, except in 2020 when the Assembly was cancelled, the church has elected a moderator to preside over the proceedings of our highest court.
Each autumn, the General Assem- bly Office invites presbyteries to sub-

   8   9   10   11   12