SJC and 'The Case of the Mystery Manual"
According to the Commissioners' Handbook (p. 2002), the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) amended its Manual. The report reads: "The SJC has prepared amendments to the SJC Manual to facilitate implementing the amendments to the BCO and RAO proposed by the Ad Interim Committee on Judicial Process and adopted by the 24th General Assembly. The amendments to the Manual will not take effect until and unless the amendments to the BCO are approved by the 25th General Assembly. In addition to those amendments the SJC further amended the Manual to clarify procedures and time requirements, and to rearrange the contents of the Manual into a more consistent format."
Inquiries of officers of the SJC revealed that these changes are being put forth, first of all, as minor and non-substantive; and secondly, that the changes are contingent upon passage of the Book of Church Order (BCO) amendments dealing with the SJC. However, neither the officers nor the Stated Clerk was willing to share a copy of the revisions prior to the Assembly.
SJC Secretary TE Mickey Bolus wrote in a note: "I don't have a 'clean' copy of the proposed SJC Manual changes. Anyway, they are all based on passage of the BCO Amendments & should some or all fail we'll have to do much of it again." He later said that the revisions dealt with "minor matters." He stated, "I don't recall any substantive changes." He believes that this matter will be brought to the floor after the BCO amendments are approved. "Otherwise it would be useless to bring it out to the floor." Dr. Bolus said, "I'm guessing that it will be the completed [version]", rather than a document that reflects the deletions and additions (as is customary when dealing with amending a document--Ed.). "That's just really my guess," he said, adding, "I would assume that that's the way it will be done." In his opinion, "Unless a person were really deeply involved in it," that person would not benefit from having all the changes marked specifically. When asked if we could have a copy, he said, "I don't know. I don't think it's ever been done." He referred us to Dr. Paul Gilchrist, who is the Clerk of the SJC.
Dr. Gilchrist, when asked if he could send a copy, said, "It's not for me to do that. That's up to the Officers. Would you please call the Chairman, Bob Ferguson, out in Houston?"
No fewer than three phone calls were not returned as of press deadline by Robert Ferguson. However, Assistant Secretary Roy Ferguson (no relation to Robert) was home. When asked which version of the Manual would be in place when the BCO amendments are adopted, he said, "I would assume the latest version. I don't know, I guess Paul Gilchrist or Robert Ferguson would know."