What Is the Role of the Policy Committee on the TD International Secretariat?
By Jeff Mehl
The Policy Committee is one of the five standing committees that operate under the authority of the International Secretariat. The other committees include Administration, Executive, Membership, and Services. According to the Tres Dias by-laws, the Policy Committee is responsible for:
- Proposing policies for the movement (subject to approval by the Secretariat and/or Assembly),
- Interpreting the Essentials as they apply to specific situations, as well as responding to requests from communities for clarification and application of the Essentials, and
- Evaluating doctrinal issues that may arise by utilizing a subcommittee of clergy.
The Policy Committee makes determinations and/or recommendations based on the intent of the Essentials. What this often means is that, in just about every instance, some communities will be pleased with our decisions while others may be displeased. To be as objective (and prayerful) as possible, we attempt to have members from communities in different parts of the country who represent the different models that are practiced in those areas. The Policy Committee deals with three types of documents and decisions:
- Position papers: These papers express decisions related to areas that are specifically outlined in the Essentials. Communities are required to comply with these position papers to maintain their Charters. These decisions do not require Secretariat approval, but any community that wishes to protest a decision can bring its concerns to the Secretariat or the Assembly for a full review.
- Best practice documents: As their title implies, these documents describe practices that many successful communities use. They are offered as recommendations. Although we hope all communities will seriously consider these recommendations, they are not required to implement them.
- Individual community correspondence: Community leaders are encouraged to reach out to the policy chair with any questions about practices in their own community. Depending on the nature of the inquiry, the chair will either respond with a recommendation and/or forward the necessary existing documentation, or bring it to the full committee for consideration and a formal response. All correspondence with communities is listed in the committee’s minutes, but the community is generally not identified.
Types of issues that are addressed by the policy committee: Anything that impacts the ministry that is subject to the Essentials as they apply to the pre-weekend, weekend and fourth day phases of the ministry. These include such things as:
- Spiritual director issues: An advisory board of clergy serves the Policy Committee as a subcommittee. Any issues related to doctrine, scripture, the role of spiritual directors, etc. are referred to this committee. They debate the issues among themselves and present the full committee with their recommendations.
- Cloister issues: Cloister is an important component of a Tres Dias weekend. However, the Essentials as they were written in 1980 could not have foreseen the idea of the internet, smart phones, 24 hour connectivity, etc. As such, the Policy Committee has had to provide guidance in how to deal with these types of issues.
- Frequently asked questions: To create as much transparency as possible, the Policy Committee created an FAQ section for the website which addresses just about any question a potential candidate may have.
- Activities on the weekend: This includes topics such as baptisms, formal healing services, altar calls, denominational issues, etc. In addition, assuring that all rollos are critiqued during team meetings, honoring a candidate’s “self determination,” etc.
A list of current documents is now posted on the Resources section of the Tres Dias website, as described above. I would encourage you to check them out and share them with the leadership of your community. And if you have any questions I’ll be happy to chat with you to clarify any concerns you might have. Jeff Mehl is a member of the Mid-Hudson TD community and serves as chairman of the Policy Committee. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org