Monday, July 2, 2012

General Assembly (2012) #4

Mission Coordination Committee, Action Item 10-09; Approved by Committee by a vote of 51 – 0.
All the Committees  of the General Assembly are scheduled all day today with their lists of Action Items. Given my position within our Presbytery, I pay close attention to some of the behind the scenes, administrative work that supports the work of our Church. I have followed in recent years the careful planning process that Executive Director of the General Assembly Mission Council, Linda Valentine, has put in place to guide the work of the Mission Council. This year a new “Mission Work Plan” was developed and forwarded to the Mission Coordination Committee. This year Carlisle Teaching Elder Commissioner Steve Gribble is serving on the Mission Coordination Committee. A number of General Assembly staff people, including Linda Valentine and Roger Dermody, discussed this plan with the Committee. The Committee had a careful and thoughtful discussion of it, before voting to approve it.
Two aspects of this are important in my mind. First, this intentional planning process is an important example for the Presbytery and our congregations. We need to do careful planning. This Mission Work Plan is a good, comprehensive example of strategic thinking. It is a good exercise to define goals, objectives and our priorities. Second, I appreciate the focus of this Mission Work plan. I would like to communicate this plan around our Presbytery, and discuss how we respond to this plan from our General Assembly Mission Council.
This Mission Work Plan has been approved by the Committee and will be considered by the whole General Assembly. The plan is copied here, and may be found at PC – biz as item 10 – 09.

Mission Work Plan 2013 – 2016:
The General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC) recommends that the 220th General Assembly (2012) approve the following vision, mission, directional goal statements, and core values for the 2013–2016 GAMC Mission Work Plan:
Vision: Presbyterians joyfully engaging in God’s mission for the transformation of the world.
Mission: Inspire, equip, and connect the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in its many expressions to serve Christ in the world through new and existing communities of faith, hope, love, and witness.
Directional Goals:
Transformational Leaders
Inspire, equip and connect the church to: Cultivate, nurture, and sustain diverse, transformational leaders for Christ’s mission.
I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit. John 15:16 (CEB)

Compassionate and Prophetic Discipleship
Inspire, equip, and connect the church to: Make, receive and send disciples who demonstrate and proclaim God’s justice, peace, and love in an increasingly globalized world.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. [God] has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of the sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18–19 (CEB)

New Worshiping Communities
Inspire, equip, and connect the church to: Ignite a movement within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that results in the creation of 1,001 new worshiping communities.
They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved. Acts 2:47 (CEB)

Young Adults
Inspire, equip and connect the church to: Engage and join with young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.
I will set up my covenant with you and your descendants after you in every generation as an enduring covenant. I will be your God and your descendants’ God after you. Genesis 17:7 (CEB)

General Assembly Engagement
Engage with, respond to, resource and represent the General Assembly in alignment with the vision and mission for the General Assembly Mission Council.
The apostles and the elders gathered to consider this matter. Acts 15:6 (CEB)
Organizational Integrity
Build confidence, trust, and engagement in all that we do by being Collaborative, Accountable, Responsive, and Excellent (C.A.R.E.).
If anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things. Philippians 4:8a (CEB)

Core Values of the General Assembly Mission Council
C.A.R.E. (Collaborative, Accountable, Responsive, Excellent)
Within the GAMC and the wider church, we will be:
Collaborative. Working together in an inclusive community, we will invite input, share ideas, and seek the best ways to accomplish our common goals.
Accountable. Relying on the Holy Spirit to enable us to trust and to be trustworthy, we will take responsibility for our actions and work with integrity, transparency, and love.
Responsive. Acting as servant leaders, we will faithfully respond to the voices and needs of the church by being timely, helpful, enthusiastic, and mission-centered.
Excellent. Demonstrating faithful stewardship and service through God’s empowering grace, we will work with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.

General Assembly (2012) #3

Inside and Outside

                On Monday morning at the General Assembly all the difficult work begins. The glorious opening worship service opened the week on Saturday. The first several, full, business sessions included a lot of preliminary work like introducing the commissioners to the electronic voting system, introducing the various agencies of the General Assembly, and discussing the process and procedures for debates and decisions. Of course, there is now a long standing tradition of devoting an early, full business session to the election of the new Moderator.  Again at this General Assembly this was done on Saturday evening, the first day of the Assembly.
                Now on Monday morning all the Commissioners gather in their assigned Committees to tackle the Action Items assigned to them. Committees will meet for their meetings during the day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The full plenary session of the General Assembly will not gather together again until Wednesday afternoon.
                It seems to me, as I try to grasp all the different action items before this Assembly, that it is possible to categorize them into Inside the Church issues and Outside the Church issues. This year there are several Inside the Church issues before the Assembly that are important and transformative:
  •                 The report of the Mid Council Commission and the possible elimination of the Synods as a governing body. This also includes the question of non-geographic presbyteries.
  •                 The report on the Nature of the Church in 21st Century is an important theological statement about the way we understand the Church today.
  •                 The proposal concerning the revision of the four Special Offerings is significant and has already sparked significant debate.

                The issues coming before us in what I am calling “Outside the Church” are also numerous and significant. These include:
  •                 The debate over our understanding and involvement in the Middle East.
  •                 The debate of Immigration policy in United States.

There are issues that have a huge impact both inside the church and outside the church.
  • This year the debate over the definition of marriage clearly is the most heated issue and divisive question before us.
  • In a less controversial light, the call for 1,001 New Worshipping Communities is a goal with impact both inside and outside the Church. We must as a church begin to embed into our heart and soul the need to plant, create and give birth to new communities. Simply continuing and maintaining our current congregations is not good enough. But for several generations we have neglected our calling and spiritual obligation to plant new communities of faith.  
  • The concern which has influence both inside and outside the church and is important to me is our commitment to World Mission. At this General Assembly we will celebrate the 175th anniversary of Presbyterian World Mission, which was started in Pittsburgh in 1837. In my mind, this continues to be one of the most essential aspects of our common ministry.

The list of issues and concerns is long and important. Please pray for the work of our General Assembly.