The Moderator’s moment
Oldenburg suggested as the first order of business that the committee “affirm” NNPCW and “recommend continuing funding.” All subsequent discussion consisted primarily of refining Oldenburg’s propositions.
When that discussion waned, it was Oldenburg who pulled a list of suggested committee recommendations from his pocket and presented them for discussion. Although minor additions and emendations were made, Oldenburg’s material survived that first session.
When the committee divided into writing groups, Oldenburg was appointed to the crucial recommendations sub-committee. Escorting two colleagues to the moderator’s office, Oldenburg sat at a desk-top computer where his initial recommendations were already on the screen. He proceeded to type, while his colleagues discussed peripheral matters. On several occasions, Oldenburg turned to Ms. Gusti Newquist, an NNPCW staff member, to seek her advice on the wording of the recommendations.
When the full committee reconvened, and Oldenburg discovered that committee members Mead and Wright had specified some NNPCW departures from Christian faith in their draft report, Oldenburg complained: “I don’t think anything good is accomplished by reporting bad things … We should say we evaluated the material and found some to be … inconsistent … I don’t think we need to document it. What’s the point of that?”
Without support from other committee members, Mead withered under the moderator’s protest. Wright attempted a rejoinder. Quoting the committee’s charge to “evaluate NNPCWs resources … and submit a complete report,” she asked, “Do you mean we’re going to say ‘some material was good and some was bad’ … and that’s our ‘complete report?’” Ultimately, Wright also fell silent.
Next stop: The 211th General Assembly, which will receive this committee’s “complete report.” Who, according to GA rules, names the chair of the Assembly committee that will act on it? Moderator Douglas Oldenburg.