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Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

Another new thing: Assembly sets aside time for discernment without debate

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 15:46

June 19, 2014

General Assembly News

Bethany Daily

Participants and observers of past Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assemblies have noted the tendency for debate to get bogged down in parliamentary gymnastics rather than focusing on the issues themselves.

To that end, the Committee to Review Biennial Assemblies suggested a new idea for the Assembly: allow commissioners time during plenary for discernment, small-group discussion and prayer about two contentious issues.

Valentine wins confirmation for unprecedented third term as head of mission agency

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 15:42

June 19, 2014

General Assembly News

Erin Cox-Holmes

Linda Valentine was confirmed for a third four-year term as executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency by a loud chorus of affirmation Thursday at the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) No previous executive director has served more than two terms.

“I believe we have made great strides with Linda as our leader,” said Matt Schramm, chair of the PMA Board. He praised integrity, intelligence, humility, strategic leadership and graciousness.

Hope can be heartbreaking, but Christ never disappoints, Egyptian theologian reminds Assembly

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 15:35

June 19, 2014

General Assembly News

Mike Ferguson

With the words "blood is a sign that something serious is at stake," Egyptian theologian Anne Zaki grabbed the attention of the 221st General Assembly (2014) during Thursday's daily worship.

"Blood is a sign that something serious is at stake," she said, both for the hemorrhaging woman healed just by touching Jesus’ clothing and, of course, later at the cross of Christ himself.

What’s next for you? For the church? For the world?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 22:00

Class of 2015 Responds

June 19, 2014

Whitworth University senior, Kirin Foster awarded Season of Service Supplemental Award for her video essay

Assembly agrees to hit 'pause' on discussion of two issues dealing with pastoral fitness

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 21:11

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Mike Ferguson

Commissioners to the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) realized they had come to a stopping point over two complicated and potentially contentious issues Wednesday night, and that realization drew a compliment from General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons.

“I commend commissioners for dealing with complicated materials,” Parsons said shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday, “and for knowing when they were ready to move forward and when they were not.”

GA Speakouts: Democracy in 60 second soundbites

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 20:41

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Mike Ferguson

Once they get the hang of the 60-second Speakout sessions, commissioners at the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) use the pithy podium of democracy with great success.

Speakout is a chance for commissioners and advisory delegates to publicly tell their colleagues whatever is on their mind – including birthday best wishes for their children back home, prayer requests and blessings they’ve received at GA. But they must get to the point: after one minute, Moderator Heath Rada – very politely – calls time.

Assembly refers question about providing childcare to COGA

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 20:37

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Erin Cox-Holmes

The first extended debate at the 221st General Assembly (2014) involved not the more high-profile issues facing the meeting. Those will come later this week. Wednesday's opening plenary session instead included a lengthy discussion of whether childcare and other family-friendly options should be offered at the biennial gatherings.

A Commissioner’s Resolution sought to require childcare and family-friendly options, and the Assembly Committee on General Assembly Procedures recommended that the request be referred to the Committee on the Office of General Assembly to develop a childcare program that would address legal and insurance concerns.

Assembly sends Belhar Confession to presbyteries for inclusion in Book of Confessions

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 20:34

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Bob Sloan

By an overwhelming vote, the 221st General Assembly (2014) sent a proposed amendment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Book of Confessions that would add the Belhar Confession, which has its roots in the struggle against apartheid.

Before it can be added to the denomination's confessions, the Belhar would have to be ratified by 116, or two-thirds, of the denomination's 171 presbyteries – each by a two-thirds vote – within the next year. Then the 221nd General Assembly (2016) must again approve inclusion in the Book of Confessions. Belhar would join the 11 Eurocentric creeds and confessions in the second part of the PC(USA) Constitution. It would also be the first addition to the Book of Confessions in nearly 30 years.

Interpreters and translators work hard at GA221 to ensure that all can understand

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 20:31

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Rachel Shussett

In recognition of its many members for whom English is a second language, the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) goes to great lengths to make sure all attendees understand the business in their first language.

 

The 220th General Assembly (2012) mandated that essential business be translated into Spanish and Korean, and interpretation has been part of many past assemblies. Before the Assembly, all the business was translated into both languages and posted on the business website, PC-Biz.

‘The sweet spot of our work’

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:39

New PMA initiative encourages Presbyterians to ‘live missionally’ in service to their communities

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Emily Enders Odom

Inspiring the Assembly with a vision cast by the Presbyterian Mission Agency for the whole church, PMA Deputy Executive for Mission Roger Dermody today summarized the objectives of a new churchwide initiative, Living Missionally, which was unanimously adopted as part of the consent agenda of the 221st General Assembly (2014).

“The Living Missionally initiative seeks to inspire Presbyterian congregations to reach out to their communities through intentional acts of service in Christ’s name, which many of our churches are already naturally doing,” Dermody said. “It’s in our DNA.”

Assembly confirms elections of leaders for Board of Pensions, Foundation

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:35

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Eva Stimson

The General Assembly confirmed Wednesday the election of Frank C. Spencer as new president of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Board of Pensions and reconfirmed the re-election of Tom Taylor to a second four-year term as president of the Presbyterian Foundation, two of the denomination's six agencies.

Spencer, former president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity, Charlotte, has a long Presbyterian heritage. His maternal grandfather was a Presbyterian pastor. His father, Samuel R. Spencer Jr., served as president of two Presbyterian colleges, Mary Baldwin (Virginia) and Davidson (North Carolina). Spencer grew up around the Davidson campus. He has taught Sunday school and served as a ruling elder in several Charlotte congregations. He also has served as chair of the board of Montreat Conference Center.

Gun violence discussion sparks laments, but also hope at screening of Trigger

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:32

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Paul Seebeck

As they gathered in one of America's major cities with a reputation for violence, some of those attending the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) watched a denominationally produced documentary on gun violence, and then tackled how to address the issue.

“It’s insane really," said Saul Green of Ceasefire Detroit, which works together with law enforcement and community service groups to impress upon young people the price they will pay for criminal activity. "Why are young people killing each other over mundane things like shoes, or cell phones?”

Ruling elders reminded that God will supply tools enabling them to fulfill duties

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:30

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Mike Ferguson

About 35 years ago, Frank James made what he called “a snap decision” when his church asked him to consider becoming a ruling elder.

“It may not have been a considered decision,” James said during Wednesday’s inaugural ruling elder luncheon at the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), “but it turned out to be one of the most important decisions of my life.”

GA221 kicks off first day of decisions with ecumenical breakfast and service

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:27

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Bethany Daily

Violence against women and children takes many forms – human trafficking, domestic violence and rape, for example. But one commonality is the need for religious communities to address the problem.

Those at Wednesday’s Ecumenical and Interfaith Breakfast at the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) heard from Presbyterian, Muslim and Sikh speakers on ways people of faith can stand against violence toward women and children.

Mid Council Commission II report approved with minor change, 10-12 synods recommended

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 00:27

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Mike Ferguson

The report from Mid Council Commission II was approved by the Mid Councils Issues Committee of the 221st General Assembly (2014) Tuesday without major amendments. Only a change to the target number of synods that will remain following synod consolidation was made by the committee.

The committee settled on 10 to 12 synods that would remain post consolidation. The report recommendation was for no more than eight synods to remain after presbyteries and synods participate in a collaborative process to reinvent synods and allow some to combine over the next two years.

Presbyterians urged to stand up to power, pass overture on fossil fuel divestment at Earth Care luncheon

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 00:22

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Mike Ferguson

Author and educator Bill McKibben made a video plea to those gathered Tuesday for the Presbyterians for Earth Care luncheon, urging them to stand up to power.

“Standing up to power is what we are called upon to do as Christians,” McKibben said in a six-minute video. “I know it can be tough to convince others, especially Christian communities, which tend to be conflict averse. There are times we are called to stand up to power, and there are no greater powers and principalities than those who derive wealth from fossil fuels and use that wealth to go to places we don’t want to go to as a civilization.”

Convergence of voice and action key to Christian leadership, speaker says

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 00:15

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Erin Cox-Holmes and Rachel Shussett

“Jesus is the great disruptor,” Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, said in his sermon during morning worship Tuesday at the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

He told the story of a man of great wealth, power and success who asked Labberton for some bullet-points about Jesus so he could have better dinner conversation with his church-going wife. Labberton told the man, “I’m not very good at bullet points. And if I gave you some, you might have to rethink everything. Jesus might make his way into your life. He might overturn it.”

중동 문제 위원회가 Caterpillar와 HP와 Motorola로부터의 투자 철수를 추천하다

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 00:06

June 18, 2014

General Assembly News

Bethany Daily

제 221차 미국 장로교 중동 문제 위원회는 45-20의 표차로 우리 교단이  Caterpillar, Inc.와 Hewlett-Packard와  Motorola Solutions—이스라엘-팔레스타인에서 “비평화적인 일” 에 종사하고 있다고 알려진 회사들—으로부터의 투자 철수를 추천하기로 결의했다.

하루 반나절 동안 이해관계자들의 증언과, 위원회 회원들 사이의 토론, 그리고 여러 회의 절차들을 거친 후에 투표가 이루어졌다. 

Committee sends Belhar Confession to Assembly for approval

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 20:46

June 17, 2014

General Assembly News

Bob Sloan

For a second time, the Confession of Belhar is being sent to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to determine if it should be added to denomination’s Book of Confessions.

After three hours of discussing, debating and dissecting, the Committee on Theological Issues and Institutions and CE on Tuesday recommended the 221st General Assembly (2014) approve inclusion of the Belhar Confession.

Congregational Vitality Committee hits the streets, makes connections

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 20:37

June 17, 2014

General Assembly News

Paul Seebeck

As their final piece of business, the Congregational Vitality Committee of the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) sent its commissioners two-by-two into the streets of Detroit on Tuesday morning.

“Go with a listening posture,” said Shannon Kiser, a 1001 Catalyst for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Pray to see whom God desires for you to see.”

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