General Assembly Update #4

General Assembly Update #4

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you well and blessed and seeing God’s mercy.  It is the fourth of July and we just finished the fireworks show.  Now I am watching the lightning storm out my window… 272 lightning strikes in the last 10 minutes!  And the storm is getting closer.  For the California girl who isn’t used to weather, it’s exciting and a little unsettling.  It seems quite appropriate for the end of our first full day of plenary.

Today’s business started with the resignation of the Vice-Moderator.  She said she wanted to be pastoral to the body because there was so much contention around her nomination.  She expressed her dismay and anger at the reaction and action of some of the body and their desire to take parliamentary measures to answer her nominations, even though the body elected her 60 per cent to 40 per cent.  While she was indeed properly elected, some wonder if it was appropriate to elect someone who had disregarded the constitution.  Regardless of what people thought about her decision to do this, the tensions in the room were high.  Consequently, Moderator Pressa named another Vice-Moderator candidate, the Reverend Tom Trinidad from Faith Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs.  The plenary elected Vice-Moderator Trinidad, who holds the same theological position as the previous Vice-Moderator.

The new translation of the Heidelberg confession was approved with Scriptural references immediately following each question and answer.  It will need a 2/3 vote with the presbyteries to be included in the Book of Order.  There was a presentation from a German scholar in favor of the new translation.  The Belhar confession was approved as well.  It will go to the presbyteries again for study for the next two years and will need a 2/3 vote to be included in the Book of Confessions.

Tomorrow is a big day, as is Friday’s plenary.  We will discuss the mid council recommendations.  We will discuss polity tomorrow.  Divestment will be discussed tomorrow, including divesting from Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola.  The committee voted to boycott Ahava products.  All attempts to divest passed but the committee stopped short of calling Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people “apartheid”. The committee voted for positive investment (support peace-building activities) as well as divestment.  A commissioner’s resolution was also passed on prayer and action for Syria.

We heard from the seminaries and new seminary presidents.  We commissioned missionaries, who were serving in the United States and overseas.  There were many significant anniversaries for these faithful servants of the Lord.  We saw some old friends, met some new colleagues and did our best to glorify Jesus Christ.  It was a hard day but at the end of it, that’s all you can do.  Show up.  Try to be faithful.  Trust God.  We did. We were (I hope).  We do.

May God bless and keep you.  God is good.

In His Grip,