world council of churches

Eighth Assembly
Assembly Committees

Programme Guidelines Committee

The task of the Programme Guidelines Committee (PGC) is to prepare and present to the assembly for adoption a report which (1) reviews the work of the WCC since the last assembly and (2) sets the main policy directions for its activities over the next seven years. Its main resources for writing this report will be the Hearings and the Padare.

The Hearings process takes place in two phases. Each phase concentrates on one aspect of the PGC's task. Phase I is divided into five sections according to the structure of the Council over the past period four programmatic units and the offices of the General Secretariat. For this first phase, the members of the PGC will divide into five subgroups. Each of these subgroups will participate in one of the five sections. There they will hear presentations of the programme and listen to and take part in the discussions which follow. On the basis of the accounts of these hearings by the subgroups, the Programme Guidelines Committee as a whole will prepare that part of its report in which the assembly evaluates the WCC's work over the past seven years.

Both the Padare and Phase II of the Hearings look towards the future of the WCC. The six subject areas or streams into which the Padare offerings have been divided Unity, Peace and Justice, Moving Together, Learning, Witness, Solidarity are also the themes for the six sets of Hearings Phase II. For this second part of their work, the membership of the PGC will thus be divided into six subgroups, different from those for Hearings Phase I, and each subgroup will follow one of the Padare streams and the corresponding set of Phase II hearings.

During the Padare the PGC subgroup members will attend various offerings, listen to informal conversations and read comments participants have posted on newsprint or placed in the suggestion box for that stream. They will use the information they have gathered in this way to prepare for the discussion in Hearings Phase II.

At the first session of each set of Hearings Phase II, the PGC members who were present in the corresponding Padare stream will be asked to introduce and animate a discussion on the future work of the WCC in that particular area. They will do so by presenting a synthesis of what they have heard in the Padare, reporting any specific suggestions regarding future WCC work and commenting on how this relates to the policy statement on the Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC.

For the remainder of this session and the next session, these PGC members will listen and take note of what the participants are saying particularly what is said by delegates regarding concerns they feel have been overlooked, perspectives on the issues from the point of view of their own churches and possibilities that certain issues might more effectively be taken care of by churches or ecumenical organizations other than the World Council of Churches. At the same time, the PGC members will serve as resource persons for these two sessions answering questions that arise and in turn asking questions of the participants as necessary to clarify points raised.

Between the second and third sessions, the PGC as a whole will meet to compare notes from the six subgroups. In particular, they will seek to identify and synthesize any overlapping and related discussions and comments which have arisen in more than one set of hearings. They will also agree on some initial directions for the final PGC report.

The third session of each section of Hearings Phase II will begin with summary reflections by the PGC subgroup members present on the discussion they have heard thus far, both in the first two sessions of the Hearings Phase II and in the meetings of the PGC as a whole. The remainder of the time in this third session will be devoted to further questioning by the participants in the Hearing and clarifications from the PGC members and other resource persons.

After Phase II of the Hearings the PGC will begin the intensive process of drafting its report for the assembly, taking into account not only the discussions in each set of hearings but also implications for the programmatic work of the WCC arising elsewhere in the assembly, including from the work of the assembly's Policy Reference and Public Issues committees.

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