Dear Companions on the Journey,
By the time you receive this communication, your Presbytery Commissioners, leadership staff, and other “presby-enthusiasts” have safely made our way back from the 222nd General Assembly in Portland, Oregon. For one week, your commissioners worked diligently – discussing overtures, listening to differing perspectives, prayerfully discerning as they considered recommended overtures coming from every corner of our nation. The final statements and actions reflect this Assembly’s heart and understanding of what it means to be bearers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at this time and place. From celebrating ministry initiatives, worshipping communities, and mission partnerships, the tone of this assembly was one of moving forward – spiritually and structurally.
Throughout their work, the week was framed within the context of worship, the Word proclaimed and the Lord’s table. There is something powerful about worshipping with people from around the nation and world – the sounds of the prayers, confessions and singing become amplified by the Holy Spirit that converts a mundane convention center to a place of worship and mountain top experience.
This Assembly will be remembered for being a “quiet” assembly. As the Rev. Cindy Jarvis noted in our final GA blog from Portland, there was a “sheer silence” in this gathering. It was a silence or stillness that led to profound and historic decisions as the Assembly overwhelmingly took actions such as embracing a new confession, electing the first African-American to the highest ecclesiastical office in our denomination, and electing two clergywomen as co-moderators. God was clearly in the stillness of this quiet Assembly, reminding us we do not always need to experience the power of God in great and violent-like winds. God was in our humble tears as we stepped into this new dawn.
Friends, the actions of this Assembly set the stage for our next season of service and ministry in the name of Jesus the Christ. We have attached a summary sheet of most of the actions taken this past week; a few of which will need to be ratified by a majority of the 171 presbyteries in the coming year. We encourage you to read specifics of the Assembly via http://oga.pcusa.org/section/ga/222nd-general-assembly-2016/ganews/.
What a privilege to be part of this moment in the life of our denomination. May we now find ways to live into “the hope of our calling” – which is grounded in Christ Jesus.
Blessings and peace,
Summary of Actions from the 222nd General Assembly
Major Decisions and/or Recommendations to Presbyteries for Consideration (prepared by the Rev. Ruth Santana-Grace on June 25, 2016 with information gathered from both personal witness and “General Assembly News”). Please click here for a downloadable Bulletin Insert for you to share with your congregations: PresbyPHL_Recap_on_GA222 Actions_BI