Louisville, Kentucky (June 17, 1999)-The 27th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) ended this evening, a day earlier than scheduled. The early finish means that the annual meeting was by far the shortest in the history of the PCA.
This was not the first Assembly to end a day early. In 1992, the court adjourned on a Thursday night, one day before its scheduled adjournment. However, that Assembly had lasted over four days, having convened on Monday evening.
Over the past several years, there has been a deliberate effort to shorten the length of the Assembly. The effect has been that deliberation on substantive matters has often been curtailed.
For the first almost two decades of PCA history, the denomination's highest court met over a five day period, typically from Monday evening through Friday. In 1991, the Assembly took exception to the minutes of the Administrative Committee for having autonomously changed the closing day of the Assembly from a Friday to a Thursday. Four years later, the Assembly voted to schedule a four day meeting. Since 1996, the court has been slated to meet from Tuesday night to Friday afternoon.
Instead of meeting over a four or five day period, as was the case historically, the shortened Assembly this year met over a three day period (Tuesday through Thursday). The total amount of time given over to business was approximately twenty hours-about half of what used to be allotted for business sessions.