Overture Writing Resource: A Guide for Presbyteries and Synods

‘Tis the season, in the rhythm of the biennial General Assembly, that involved Presbyterians are contemplating sending overtures. In the Presbyterian Church (USA), an overture is an action requested of the General Assembly by formal action of a mid council. (If an item of business is proposed by a committee of the General Assembly, it’s called a report.)

 CLICK HERE for a downloadable PDF with resources and tips about the process.

Who and When

Technically, anyone with the right to make a motion in the synod or presbytery could bring an overture, but a mid council might have rules or standard operating procedures.  Most overtures come to the presbytery/synod by way of a session or a presbytery/synod committee.
Once an overture is submitted to the mid council for consideration, some presbyteries/synods require a recommendation by a leadership cabinet or a Bills and Overtures Committee before the whole council votes on it. The mid council meeting schedule and rules will affect the timing of the steps needed. If the mid council has a first reading requirement, plan for two presbytery/synod meeting dates plus the meeting of any smaller body that may need a vote on whether to recommend it. Allow time for possible revisions.