The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) meets for one week every two years. This year the meeting will be from June 16th through June 23rd in St. Louis, Missouri.
General Assembly is the national body of the PC (USA) and considers overtures and items of business submitted from presbyteries, committees, and other reporting bodies. The interesting thing about our General Assembly is that it is never comprised of the same people. Each presbytery is required to send commissioners to General Assembly just as the churches in a presbytery have to send commissioners to presbytery meetings. These commissioners (who are both clergy and laity) are elected by the presbytery in the year leading up to General Assembly and are commissioned to listen to the Spirit, to where God is leading the church, and to vote their conscience on each and every matter that comes before the Assembly. Two years ago, our very own Matt Wood represented our Presbytery for the General Assembly held in Portland, OR, and this year, I have the honor of representing our Presbytery (and our Church) in St. Louis.
One of the strengths of being a Presbyterian is the nature of the connectional church. Whether it is while visiting another Presbyterian church in another town or state, you experience same elements of worship to our own, or that we work, fellowship, and support one another regionally (like in our Presbytery…we know we love our Associate Executive Presbyter Andy James and his work and visits to our church, and we are grateful for the upcoming help from Revs. Aleta Ash and Moffett Churn while I’m on sabbatical). Through the connectional church, we see our congregation in Eastern North Carolina is no island, but that we are part of a larger cohesive body. General Assembly is the time to really experience that connectionalism in the church, as we will worship, prayer, and make decisions that will further the work of the denomination and the church.
There are many things coming before the assembly this year, as there is each time they meet. Some things being considered: the report from the Way Forward Commission (looking at how the denomination moves forward), many different overtures to amend the Book of Order, as well as to elect new moderators to represent our denomination for the next two years. To let y’all know what I will be learning and discussing and discerning about, you will find overviews of the business in your bulletins both before and after the assembly. I will also give an update in the newsletter after the assembly dismisses as well as present about my time at General Assembly to the Presbytery at our next meeting on July 24th in Winterville.
This is always a time of great discernment and decisions for our denomination. I hope that you will join me in prayer for the commissioners, the moderators, and all others involved in this process. The assembly spends time each day in worship and bible study and the worship services, as well as all of the plenary sessions, will be streamed live. You can find more information on General Assembly at: https://ga-pcusa.org/. May God continue to guide us as we seek to serve God in all that we do.