In nine days the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will convene in Michigan’s Motor City. In the week that follows elected ruling and teaching elders from across the country will deliberate, discuss, and discern on matters as diverse as our denomination.
This year there are two issues that will consume much of the commissioners’ time and energy, as well as space on the front pages of newspapers across the land.
As with every GA in the last generation we will wrestle with our role in the quest for peace in the Middle East. There are nine resolutions before the Assembly, each seeking to balance prophetic and faithful words with viable and effective responses to the reality of life in Israel and Palestine. Several are very controversial, especially with our sisters and brothers of Jewish faith.
The other issue before the Assembly is whether to permit same gender couples to be married in our churches. Another perennial occupant of GA docket space, there will be passionate debate on both sides of this question.
It would be easy, and is certainly tempting, to attempt to ignore what happens at this GA. The reality, however, defies denial: GA matters. What happens in Detroit will play out in Wilmington, and everywhere else God has planted a PC(USA) congregation. We live, serve, play and pray with sisters and brothers who will be effected by what we say and what we do.
And so I offer here two things. First, information. I believe good information is the foundation for good decisions. The denomination has produced a “FAQ”‘ (Frequently Asked Questions) piece for each of these issues. Click here for the FAQ on Middle East Issues. Click here for the FAQ on Civil Union and Marriage.
The other thing I offer is prayer. In the days to come, O Lord, grant that the servant leaders whom you have called to serve as commissioners would lead with hearts and minds open to receive the guiding presence of your Holy Spirit. Then, through our words and acts, may Your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Amen.