General Assembly Council Executive Director Linda Valentine and 218th General Assembly Moderator Bruce Reyes-Chow brought greetings. Valentine spoke of the
rebuilding of the staff at General Assembly offices and gave thanks to the many in the room who serve the church daily.
The Rev. Hunter Farrell, director of World Mission, presented the Bell-Mackay Prize to Bill Anderson. Anderson and his late wife, Lois spent 49 years in African-based
mission service. As a result of their ministry, the Nile Theological College in Khartoum, Sudan, is now the first high-level Protestant theological institution in that country. Accepting the award, Anderson encouraged those gathered to “do your work and expect the Holy Spirit.”
The 2008 Lydia Award recipient was also announced. The Lydia Award is presented each year to an emerging Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) female leader planning to enter pastoral ministry. This year’s recipient is a commissioned lay pastor serving in Kendall Presbytery in Idaho, Heidi Smith, who is a University of Dubuque Seminary student in their off-site/online degree program.
The Rev. Mark D. Roberts, director and theologian-in-residence of Laity Lodge in the Texas hill country, was the morning speaker. Focusing on Ephesians 4, Roberts urged his listeners to “lead a life worthy of the life to which you have been called. These efforts can keep the fractured PC(USA) together,” he said.
Roberts wondered how churches can become bodies where every part is working properly. He commended commissioners for “speaking the truth in love, for it is the only way we can grow back to wholeness.”
The mission statement of Presbyterians for Renewal says that they are “mobilizing leaders of congregations within the PC(USA) to be biblically faithful and missionally minded in their service to Jesus Christ.”