General Assembly of the PC(U.S.A)

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The 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will convene in St. Louis on June 16 and run through June 23. The General Assembly meets every two years, bringing together elder and minister commissioners from 171 presbyteries. 

The 538 commissioners, including six from Presbytery of the James, will be joined by 183 young adult, seminary student, and ecumenical advisory delegates. FPC’s youth director, Wilson Kennedy, who is also a ruling elder, will attend as a member of the Committee on the General Assembly.

The first item of business on Saturday will be the election of a Moderator or Co-Moderators of the Assembly, who will moderate the discussions and debates of the Assembly and serve for the next years as spokespersons for the PCUSA. On Sunday, June 17, Presbyterians from Greater St. Louis will fill the convention center for a worship service that includes Holy Communion and the commissioning of missionaries.

On Monday the Assembly will break up into committees to consider particular kinds of business, to discuss issues before the Assembly, and to consider overtures for action presented by the presbyteries. Among the reports receiving the most attention is one related to the organizational structure of the PCUSA. There is also a proposal to increase the per capita assessment which funds the core functions of the denomination.

There are over 60 overtures from the synods and presbyteries dealing with environmental issues, racial and economic justice, and the Middle East, among other matters. At the end of the week the Assembly will convene as the commissioners act on the recommendations of the committees. 

With the General Assembly meeting in St. Louis, the site of the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting of the unarmed black youth Michael Brown and the community unrest that followed, themes of racism, poverty, and systemic injustice form the context for the week. The commissioners will devote one day of the Assembly to fanning out into St. Louis to witness and work in impoverished neighborhoods.

A detailed report on the actions of the General Assembly will be distributed in worship beginning on June 24.

Dr. R. Charles Grant

Prayer for the General Assembly

Almighty God, in Jesus Christ you called disciples and, by the Holy Spirit, make them one church to serve you. Be with members of our General Assembly. Help them to welcome new things you are doing in the world, and to respect old things you keep and use. Save them from empty slogans or senseless controversy. In their deciding, determine what is good for us and for all people. 

As the upcoming General Assembly meets, let your Spirit rule, so that our church may be joined in love and service to Jesus Christ, who, having gone before us, is coming to meet us in the promise of your kingdom. Amen. 

– Book of Common Worship (2018)

FPC Richmond