Wednesday, June 20, 2018

223rd General Assembly - Day Five - Ecumenical Worship - Plenary Begins

Denise Anderson, who just completed a two year term as the 222nd GA co-moderator, fueled the justice fire burning in my heart this morning in her sermon/proclamation/address at the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Breakfast.  It was video taped.  Look for it to be posted at their website soon.  Powerful preaching!  A young mother herself, she called us to jiggle the pacifier, take away what comforts others, and let them cry.  Jesus got angry and engaged the indifference of the synagogue, and abuse of the temple, offered a different  economy of abundance in contrast to the zero sum economy of scarcity of the Roman Empire, in a way that healed and saved and liberate without condemning.  We should get angry, too.  Fifty years after the first Poor People's March, she has helped lead a renewed Poor People's march.  Fifty years is too long to wait.  Jiggle the pacifier.

Then at the Ecumenical Worship, Najla Kassab, moderator of the National Synod of the Church of Syria preach on 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2 "Towards a Kingdom of Reconciliation" called on us to see others not from a worldly point of view on nationalism, wealth, physical appearance, power, etc. but from a spiritual point of view on kinship and seeing Christ and angels in others, and to build bridges across the boundaries which separate us. 

During Kin-dom Time this Assembly is still on a high from the Stop Cash Bail Public Action March yesterday.  "One of the Best Experiences of my life!"  There were a lot of first time marchers.  Our return home will be like the Holy Spirit blowing on the dandelion seed head.  We are charged to take the gospel to the streets to the public square with our ecumenical brothers and sisters, interfaith leaders and whoever wants to address the needs of a broken world.  Our Denise Martin brought the Assembly to its feet with her new embrace of the PC(USA) advocacy.

Plenary Work on the Business before the Assembly began today.  Among the many actions:

  • The Assembly approved Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr's Letter from the Birmingham Jail for study by the churches, and to begin the process for considering it for inclusion as a PC(USA) constitutional confession. 
  • Commended the Reclaiming Jesus movement for study by Mid Councils, Sessions and congregations.
  • Urges the session of each congregation, as well as each mid council, Presbyterian seminaries, Presbyterian Women’s groups, and other organizations to confess their complicity and repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and calls for the engagement of mid councils and their congregational members to start a flow of ideas and information back and forth between mid councils and congregational members, directed at understanding how the Doctrine of Discovery has been present in our history and our theological positions, and continues to be present today.  Recommends a two-step process: confession, repentance, and calls for an inventory and assessment of Native American Church property needs and report back.  This could empower Presbyteries in possible future action to follow up on our confession and repentance.
  • Approved appointing an Administrative Commission to inquire and address conflict in the Synod of the Covenant.
  • Recognize the 10th anniversary of the “Comfort My People: A Policy Statement on Serious Mental Illness” approved at the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and acknowledged the relevancy it still holds for our church and society in 2018.  And established $250,000 funding for grants to be used to implement congregational Mental Health Ministries.  
  • Direct the Presbyterian Mission Agency to report to the 224th General Assembly (2020) on its efforts to strengthen the mission and ministry of small congregations, including the progress of implementing the Vital Congregations and Christian Formation initiatives.

No comments: