Committee On Representation (COR)
Chair: Elder Bobbie Knickerbocker (Nashua PC, NH)
Members as of 05/28/2023: Kari Brace (VT), Devin Dickinson (North Turner Union PC, ME), Daniel Krymkowski (First PC Barre, VT), Kenneth Nelson (United PC, Ryegate, VT)
PNNE Bylaws, Dec 6, 2014:
D. Committee on Representation
The committee on representation shall consist of six persons, whose membership shall consist of equal numbers of men and women. A majority of the members shall be selected from the racial ethnic groups within the governing body, and the total membership shall include persons from each of the following categories: 1. Majority male and female membership; 2. Racial and ethnic male and female membership; 3. Youth membership and 4. Persons with disabilities.
In accordance with the provisions in the Book of Order, the committee shall:
a. Serve as an advocate for the representation of both women and men, of persons of all ages and racial and ethnic groups, persons from all states in the presbytery’s geographical areas, and of persons with any handicapping or disabling conditions, in this presbytery.
b. Report annually to the stated clerk of this presbytery and the stated clerk of the Synod of the Northeast any extent to which the membership of the presbytery, and its bodies, falls short of the inclusiveness and participation requirements set forth in the Book of Order (G-3.0103).
c. Recommend to the sessions through the stated clerk changes in their commissioners to presbytery that would help the presbytery membership better comply with the requirements of the Book of Order (G-3.0103).
d. Consult with the nominating committee in order that the presbytery's committees might as nearly as possible fulfill the requirements of the Book of Order (G-3.0103).
e. Remind the council of the principles of participation and representation set forth in the Book of Order (F-1.0403).
f. Consult with the presbytery's pastors and commissioners, especially those serving churches in areas where large numbers of minority, racial or ethnic groups reside, in order to uncover instances of racial, ethnic, sex-group or age-group under- representation. The committee shall then work with those pastors, sessions and under- represented groups to improve representation.
Message from the Committee on Representation, PNNE, May 25, 2023
The Committee on Representation (COR) is charged with ensuring that Presbytery committees are well representative of the congregations they serve. We remind our commissions and committees of the principles of participation and representation set forth in the Book of Order (F-1.0403).
F-1.0403 Unity in Diversity
“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:27–29).
The unity of believers in Christ is reflected in the rich diversity of the Church’s membership. In Christ, by the power of the Spirit, God unites persons through baptism regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, disability, geography, or theological conviction. There is therefore no place in the life of the Church for discrimination against any person. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shall guarantee full participation and representation in its worship, governance, and emerging life to all persons or groups within its membership. No member shall be denied participation or representation for any reason other than those stated in this Constitution.
COR feels that Presbytery committees are in particular need of greater diversity in the areas mentioned below.
According to Presbytery statistics, the average age of congregation members is 55 years while the average age of committee members is 59 years. Further, there is only one committee member under 30 years of age and none under 20. Clearly, more effort needs to be made to attract younger people to such service. In particular, the Presbytery should have some teenage representation on its committees.
Nineteen percent of congregational members suffer from a disability of some kind (e.g., hearing, mobility, sight). While some committee members do have hearing loss there are no committee members with mobility or sight issues, so an effort should be made to have such representation.
Fifty-eight percent of congregational members are women, but only 47% of committee members are. Thus, initiatives need to be undertaken in order to attract more women to service. Further, while we have no statistical data on individuals who identify as non-binary, the Presbytery should make it clear that we need and welcome such people on our committees.
Eleven percent of our members are people of color. However, only 4% of committee members fall into this category. COR feels that it is especially important to increase representation in this regard.
As with non-binary gender identification, we have no statistical data on the sexual orientation of congregants or committee members. Nonetheless, we recommend outreach to our LGBTQIA+ community and invite them to serve.
As far as we know, each committee member has at least a bachelor’s degree. However, many congregants do not. According to some limited data collected by COR, about half of congregants have this level of education. Therefore, we need to diversify Presbytery committees by educational level as well.