Ponderings from the General Assembly 1
July 3, 2010
This morning a new feature was added to our General Assembly. In the past there had been a time of orientation and training for all of the Commissioners together on this the first day of the meeting. Instead of these traditional training and orientation sessions, this year there were six different “conversations” offered this morning, all at the same time, for the commissioners to choose from as they prepared for the start of the plenary sessions this afternoon. Several of the conversations were focused on the large issues that this Assembly faces, for example, the Form of Government report, the Middle East report, and changes in the Book of Order. I attended a “Conversation” with Gradye Parsons, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly and Linda Valentine, the Executive Director of the General Assembly Mission Council.
They offered a short presentation on their “Hopes for the 219th General Assembly". Together they listed and discussed seven hopes. I was very pleased by the deep spiritual quality of this conversation. The hopes of these two leaders of the church are spiritually very significant and theologically very sophisticated.
Hopes for the 219th General Assembly are that we:
Practice prayerful decision making;
Discern a deeper awareness of the whole PC(U.S.A.);
Discern a deeper understanding of the issues facing individual congregations;
Identify a common calling within our changing church;
Focus attention beyond ourselves;
Develop enthusiastic sharing of our Faith;
Further the mission of Jesus Christ.
I was very impressed and pleased that this discussion of the hopes of our General Assembly is much deeper than any of the individual topics and actions items which we will consider. We need this deep spiritual foundation to our work.