GA NEWS: Presbyterian Church General Assembly speaks to international needs

SAN JOSE, Cal. – “We are called to be involved and engaged in the world that God cares deeply about,” said Rev. Nancy Kahaian, moderator of the Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues. “I believe that Presbyterians can truly lead the way,” she continued in a press conference Friday afternoon.

            The 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) affirmed its commitment to caring for the suffering of the world through a variety of resolutions passed in its plenary sessions on Friday afternoon. The assembly passed statements of support for the Presbyterian Church in Zimbabwe and the Presbyterian Church of Columbia, as well as statements against human trafficking, in acknowledgement of the global food crisis especially in North Korea, and in support for those who wish to seek status as conscientious objectors.

            The assembly also passed a number of overtures relating to the war in Iraq. Issues of assistance to Iraqi refugees, addressing the violence and suffering of Iraqi women easily passed with a near unanimous voice vote.

            Resolution 11-10, On Building Peace in Iraq, was the subject of a prolonged discussion regarding wording and terminology within the resolution. The resolution calls for commending and thanking both peacemakers who have worked non-violently to end the war in Iraq as well as members of the armed forces for their service and sacrifice.

            The assembly’s deliberation set aside proposed language that would have called upon the US government to end its military presence in Iraq with.  In its place the approved recommendation called upon the US government to develop and implement a lasting peaceful solution, responsibly bring the troops home, and reaffirm the decision of the 216th General Assembly for the US government to engage with the international community.

            Through its discussion of these resolutions, the theme of the 218th General Assembly, “Do Justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with your God” was evident in the expression of concern for justice and suffering in the larger world.