General Assembly #6 (and last)

General Assembly #6 (and last)

Dear Friends,

Well it is the last full day of plenary.

We began the business with some discussion around the order of the day.  Commissioner Bob Mitchell was persistent and effective in addressing our concerns!

We did not finish the business of the Middle East and Peacemaking committee.  There was a motion to reconsider the actions around divestment form last night.  The motion failed. There as an extensive conversation around boycotting products including Ahava.  The motion passed with 71 per cent.

There was Board of Pension committee discussion around relief of conscience by participants. It was recommended with comment but the Board of Pension has said it cannot imagine implementing this until it collects more data.  Later, Clerk Parsons declared it out of order and instructed that the standing rules needed to be set aside.  A 2/3 a vote was needed but not achieved so there will be no Board of Pensions relief around divestment.

There was as you might imagine a lot of tension around civil union and marriage issues.  There was quite a bit of discussion around the authority of the Book of Confessions as part of the constitution.  There was a motion to overrule the moderator, which failed 70 per cent to 30 per cent. There was a motion to limit the discussion to 10 speakers from each side.  It did not pass.  We had a long, heated debate.  There was a minority report for no action on the redefinition of marriage but study that was narrowly defeated.  The second minority report asked that there be no study but rather conversation in the presbyteries and no action taken on the redefinition of marriage. The motion to move to substitute the minority failed 60 per cent to 40 per cent.  There were many attempts to consider authoritative interpretations on marriage. They all failed.

One of our last committees covered church orders and it was obvious that the hour was late.  Our own Henry Greene was poised and ready on the platform to serve as a resource person, but it just seemed liked the energy level was too drained. He never got called.  Ordination standards were addressed and they were not returned to a more traditional understanding as we had hoped.  The votes were certainly consistent as they had been basically throughout the assembly.  In the discussion around abortion, the General Assembly voted to protect the integrity of individual conscience by affirming the ability of women and men to make good moral decisions in matters of reproductive health, including decisions about infertility, parenthood, and responses to problem pregnancies, in consultation with their families, pastors, health-care professionals, and scientifically accurate medical information.

I think this will be my last GA post.  I know…. You are sad.  I am too!  We are glad to be coming home- in all that ways that this statement is true.  Every day I thank God for calling me to serve you and this week, I am more and more and more reminded of that truth.  I could not be prouder of our team– so gifted, faithful and loving.  I don’t know what the future holds but I am excited to see what God is going to do in and through the Presbytery of Stockton.  God is so good.

 

In His Grip,

Julia