So what has come of the actions and reactions to the 220th General Assembly, held in Pittsburgh last summer? What issues will command Presbyterians’ attention when the 221st GA convenes in Detroit in the summer of 2014?
Presbyteries have voted to accept a new translation of the Heidelberg Catechism (for it to be added to The Book of Confessions, the 2014 General Assembly would have to approve it as well).
The votes are also in on other proposed amendments — with all but one winning approval by large margins. The approved amendments include 12-F, which would require that a presbytery obtain a concurrence from at least one other presbytery in order to send an overture to the General Assembly, and which passed by a 98-62 margin (with 13 presbyteries still to vote as of June 4). This proposed change grew out of the work of the Committee to Review Biennial Assemblies, which was seeking ways to increase collaboration and focus the work coming to the General Assembly.
The only proposed amendment to fail was 12-B, which would have added new language to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s ordination standards. The Book of Order currently states that the manner of life of those being ordained “should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and in the world.” The proposed additional amendment would have added this new sentence: “This includes repentance of sin and diligent use of the means of grace.” That proposed amendment needed 87 affirmative votes from the 173 presbyteries — and failed by a margin of 63-96 (with just over a dozen presbyteries still to vote).
The Office of Theology and Worship has prepared and edited a study of marriage, a topic sure to command attention in Detroit.
Alternative investment efforts have been initiated aimed at peacemaking in Israel-Palestine, and debates about those efforts continue (here and here). A study on the denomination’s role in peacemaking is proceeding, and as always there is heated disagreement on what that role should be.
Questions swirl around the status of The Book of Confessions in the process of adopting legislation, and second thoughts linger on how the Pittsburgh GA rejected most recommendations regarding mid councils.Given the biennial cycle of the meetings of the highest governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we invite you to take a closer look at the goings-on in this “Midway ‘tween GAs” edition of The Presbyterian Outlook.