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GEN 24 Report of the Policy Reference III

22 February 2005

Introduction

The agenda of Policy Reference Committee III included primarily consideration of the Report of the Officers (GEN 1), the Report of the Moderator (GEN 2), the Report of the General Secretary (GEN 3), all documents regarding rule changes (POL III.1; GEN 4.1; GEN 4.2; GEN 4.3), except for those regarding WCC membership, and the consensus manual (GEN 4.4). We have received and discussed the suggestions made by each of the committees. Policy Reference Committee III offers recommendations regarding these reports. Additionally, the committee offers the recommendations in a comprehensive document (GEN 4.5) fully presenting the changes to the WCC Rules.

"Report of the Officers" (GEN 1)

The committee appreciates the report from the Officers, and thanks them for their work and the work of the Executive Committee.

The committee recommends that the Central Committee ensure, that while the rules for engagement with Specialized Ministries (Rule XVI) are evolving, there is global representation of Specialized Ministries from the South and the Orthodox to encourage full participation.

"Report of the Moderator" and "Report of the General Secretary" (GEN 2, GEN 3)

The committee recommends that the Central Committee express its appreciation for these two complementary reports. We thank them for inspiring our discussion with important themes and theological reflections, for expressing a vision of what is happening ecumenically around the world, and for recording the actual work of the WCC.

We further recommend that the Central Committee specifically lift up the points raised in the Moderator's Report under the section "Healing: An Ecumenical Priority" (page 13), in anticipation that the CWME in Athens can further the work with these issues in a practical way.

The committee welcomes the interactions taking place between the WCC and the British Government, and the WCC and Bretton Woods Institutions. The committee appreciates the affirmation of the WCC and of our General Secretary in these emerging relationships, and is hopeful the interactions will continue and develop.

The committee recommends that the Central Committee request the General Secretary to continue to engage the British Government, and in so doing, ensure that the churches and ecumenical organizations are supported equitably in their development efforts.

Proposed Changes to WCC Rules (cf. appendix GEN 4.5)

The committee recommends that the Central Committee accept the changes to the WCC Rules as identified in GEN 4.5.

Rule VIII, "Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration"

After a full conversation, the committee affirms the name "Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration".

The committee recommends that the current Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration remain in office during the WCC 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre.

Rule XIX, Conduct of Meetings

In adopting Revised Rule XIX on "Conduct of Meetings", the Central Committee affirms its decision to implement the consensus method and apply the consensus method to the meetings of the Assembly, Central Committee, Executive Committee, and other bodies of the WCC.

It is recommended that the second full meeting of the Central Committee after the 9th Assembly reflect on and evaluate the experience of using the consensus method. This reflection and evaluation will allow the Central Committee to deepen its understanding of the consensus method and to discern whether any clarifications to "Rule XIX: Conduct of Meetings" are necessary.

And the committee further recommends that work continue from now until Porto Alegre on preparing for the implementation of consensus procedures, including training of moderators and recorders.

"Manual for Conduct for Meetings of the World Council of Churches" (GEN 4.4)

The committee recommends that the Central Committee express their strong appreciation for the guidance and direction provided in the manual for conduct.

The committee recommends the use of this manual and believes that over time we will experience a deeper fellowship as we practise a style of listening and making decisions that is based primarily on consensus. While working with the manual, practice will show where the consensus method can be improved.