Since The Aquila Report has limited staff and budget, we are unable to cover the PCUSA General Assembly. Our good friends at The Layman are there in force, even adding a new writer just for the occasion. We will be providing daily ‘teases’ and links to many interesting stories, such as:
New PCUSA moderator calls for a sense of unity
Jason P. Reagan, The Layman
The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s newly elected moderator said his primary goal would be to seek unity in a denomination that has seen decades of divisiveness…
Presa, the pastor of Middlesex Presbyterian Church of Middlesex, N.J., told the media in a conference following the vote that he hoped to set a tone of harmony as the 688 commissioners prepare for weeklong deliberation about several divisive issues ranging from corporate divestment in Israel to same-sex marriage.
“It’s important that we seek the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace to find a way for us to journey together as the church with all the difference that we bring,” he said.
Presa said he wants to bring back the idea of worship recovery to the beleaguered denomination.
Mostly rookie commissioners begin their work
James D. Berkley, The Layman
Three-quarters of the 643 commissioners present at the opening of the 220th General Assembly enter their responsibilities with no prior experience as a commissioner. This statistic came from an exercise in learning how to use their electronic voting apparatus at the first plenary session in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.
As has been the case in years past, this assembly is comprised largely of rookies. Further, only 18 percent of the commissioners are serving their second assembly, and 4 percent their third. Just 2 percent of the commissioners have the previous experience of serving three or more times.
Breakfast speakers object to ‘singling out’ Israel
Alan F.H. Wisdom, The Layman
At a June 30 breakfast, leaders of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PFMEP) and guest speakers raised objections to a strategy of targeting Israel for boycott, divestment and sanctions in protest against its policies. They challenged a Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) recommendation that the 2012 General Assembly authorize PCUSA divestment from three corporations doing business with the Jewish state.
PFMEP Steering Committee member John Wimberly, pastor of Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., characterized the group as an“amazing” convergence of theological and ideological opposites. “I’m about as far to the left in the Presbyterian Church as one can get,” Wimberly observed,“and some members of our group are as far to the right as I am to the left.”But “we all do agree that divestment is a fatally flawed peacemaking strategy.”
[Editor’s note: Some of the original URLs (links) referenced in this article are no longer valid, so the links have been removed.]