General Assembly Update #3

General Assembly Update #3

Dear Friends,

It is very late and I am sitting in my hotel room watching the sky fill with flashes of lightning.  With every flash I am reminded that I am very far from home.  The wonderful news is that I am here with some great team members from our presbytery and I want to brag a little about them.  The Drurys are serving in the hospitality suite of the Coalition.   They feed commissioners, pray with them and make sure that they are an encouraging presence.  There is a big team from Merced, including Bill and Judie Pruitt, Cindy Brown, Jean Robbins and Karen Greene who are the unsung heroes, always faithfully and quietly working behind the scenes.  They make ministry happen.  Nancy Clegg, (stated clerk from Sacramento), and her husband, Jay, encourage people by their presence.  They support the Sacramento team and we are grateful they are here.  Bob Mitchell is a servant through and through.  He relates so well to people and did a spectacular job presenting one of your overtures.  We just didn’t have the votes.  Charlie Brown was so effective in the mid council committee.  I was blown away by his finesse in the committee.  He said the hard things that needed to be said but in a way that people could hear.  Ken Robbins is a brilliant mind- we all know that.  But what we might not all know is that he is so generous with his time and gifts as he helps resource many commissioners and committees.  Henry Greene is the calming presence that we all need in a difficult General Assembly.  And it has been difficult for us here.  He helps guide commissioners and leads graciously and gracefully. I just am so glad that these servants decided to be here, in order to serve the presbytery of Stockton and our Lord.  God is good.

Truth be told, I would like to stop right there.  Turn out the lights and enjoy the lightning.  And yet, there is more.  There was a lot of business that came out of committees these last two days.  All of these votes will go to plenary where the final vote will be taken.  What is below does not cover all of the business, but shows the highlights as I see them.

  • The Vacaville transfer was approved.  Yahoo!  Welcome!  All of the overtures from Stockton were defeated.
  • The definition of marriage was changed from “man and woman” to “two persons”.
  • The mid council report was gutted.  There will be a two year study of synods in order to reduce the numbers.  The idea of any experiments around non-geographic presbyteries was defeated.
  • Belhar was approved with a pastoral letter.  If it passes plenary, there will be a two year study and it will be brought back to the next General Assembly.
  • The new translation on Heidelberg passed.
  • The Board of Pensions relief of conscience failed.

There is a whole lot of General Assembly ahead of us.  As we celebrate our independence tomorrow, may we remember afresh to whom we belong.  God is good.  Thanks for your prayers.

In His Grip,