The PC(USA) 221st General Assembly (GA) adjourned on Saturday, June 21, after a week of conducting the business of the church in Detroit. Fifteen committees met from Sunday evening through Tuesday afternoon. Their recommendations were considered by the entire General Assembly from Wednesday afternoon until close of business on Saturday morning. Each day included worship with communion and several opportunities to hear keynote speakers at breakfast and lunch.
Many of the GA decisions will take effect immediately. Recommended changes to the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions will be voted on by the presbyteries during the next year. The GA addressed a variety of decisions from civil union/marriage, church polity, and theological issues to ecumenical/interfaith relations, social justice, and peacemaking/international issues.
You may have already read or heard about some of the decisions on national news. The issues I have seen covered in the press include the following:
- An authoritative interpretation that allows pastors to participate in marriage ceremonies “as permitted by the laws of the civil jurisdiction in which the marriage is to take place.” (Committee 10, Item 10-03)
- A recommended change to the Book of Order that changes the section on marriage to read “Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.” (Committee 10, Item 10-02)
- Decision to divest from Caterpillar, Inc., Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions. (Committee 04, Item 04-04)
These and all GA actions can be found at http://www.pc-biz.org/PC-Biz.WebApp_deploy/(S(e0lrayioe0nter5k4yyy2o1j))/Committee2.aspx. Click on each committee to read the overtures considered and the final action.
News summaries of major actions are at http://oga.pcusa.org/section/ga/ga221/. Click on the headlines to read the entire article.
To watch videos of the worship or plenary sessions, see http://oga.pcusa.org/section/ga/ga221/video/. The videos are listed by date and time. A GA schedule can be found at http://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/oga/pdf/ga221/ga221_docket_12-16-13_draft.pdf
If you are interested in learning more about a particular decision, come to church on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. We will meet in the adult Sunday school room. Please send me your questions by Friday, so I can do some basic research. Let’s explore the issues together.
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. — Romans 15:5-6