Assembly Responds to Presbytery Overtures
Four presbytery overtures had called into question the action of the IRC delegation to the 1996 NAPARC meeting, including the way in which it had handled the matter of CRC membership in NAPARC and its favorable vote for the admission of the EPC to membership in the Council. The Assembly accepted the recommendations of its C of C, by "affirm[ing] its confidence that the IRC acted in good faith with regard to the directive to seek to remove the CRC by 'all due process afforded to them'"; and by "accept[ing] the rationale for the decision of the IRC to proceed with suspension of the CRC from NAPARC as a step toward expulsion." The GA also "direct[ed] the IRC that, if the CRC does not reverse the action of Synod 95 regarding women in office within a year of being suspended by NAPARC, at the next meeting of NAPARC the IRC shall introduce a motion that the CRC be expelled from NAPARC." The Assembly voted that it "accepts the apology of the IRC from the failure to get the motion concerning the CRC before NAPARC in a timely and effective manner." And, the Assembly voted to "instruct the IRC not to propose or vote for admission of the EPC to NAPARC unless and until the EPC changes its official position on women in office."
In choosing not to answer the overtures in the affirmative or the negative, the Assembly side-stepped two potentially explosive matters: both the "Whereas" statements in the overtures, and allegations in the IRC report regarding the presbyteries.