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Spelling out a vision for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Vision 2020 Team completes its report, including resources mid councils and churches can use

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Vision 2020 Team has completed its Guiding Statement and has a handful of other recommendations in draft language for the 224th General Assembly to consider when it meets in Baltimore June 20-27.

Special committees and commissions had until Friday to send their reports to the General Assembly in order to meet the 120-day deadline.

Using the denomination’s acronym to form its Guiding Statement, God calls the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), according to the Vision 2020 Team, to be:

  • Presbyterians are called to confess their sins and ask the Holy Spirit to guide them. “By grace Christ binds us together,” the statement reads, “cleanses us in the waters of baptism, nourishes us at the Lord’s table and sends us out to share the Good News.”
  • “Reformed and always being reformed, we follow the Holy Spirit in new and imaginative ways to places we have not yet been,” the statement says. “We work for God’s justice and peace for all people in every land, walking with the vulnerable, the marginalized and the abused.”
  • “Against forces that seek to divide, Christ compels us to bear witness to a love that connects communities across great differences,” according to the statement. “We approach others in a spirit of openness and trust as we follow Jesus Christ in respecting the freedom of other religions, worldviews and traditions.”
  • “Gratefully following the One who washed the disciples’ feet, we list to our neighbors, working to meet their practical needs,” the document states. “The Holy Spirit pushes us beyond the familiar, meeting people where they are as we share Christ’s transformative love.”
  • “We are people of the resurrection,” the document states. “Though death surrounds us, we are not afraid because we follow the One who was raised from the tomb. In the sure and certain hope of resurrection, we joyfully testify that the church and its members are called to follow Christ’s model by risking all, even life itself, for the sake of the Gospel.”

The team also produced an invitation for Presbyterians to engage with the Guiding Statement. Included are questions the team posed during listening sessions it held, including “What does your church or organization or the PC(USA) need to let go of? Hold on to?” “What breaks God’s heart in your community?” “Where do you encounter God’s joy, love and grace in your community?”

Also included in the resources are words and music to “This is Who We Are,” the winner of a contest to help illustrate the vision musically. Tracy Keenan wrote the lyrics and, together with Aisha Brooks-Lytle, composed the music.

The 2020 Vision Team has three additional recommendations for consideration by the upcoming assembly:

  • Commend the Guiding Statement and resources to the six agencies of the PC(USA) as well as mid councils, seminaries, congregations and individuals for study, reflection and conversation. It also asks commissioners to the 224th General Assembly to require the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation to develop curriculum with a focus on the Guiding Statement.
  • That the moderator(s) of the upcoming assembly appoint an implementation team to introduce the Guiding Statement and “integrate it into the life of the denomination” and “proclaim and celebrate the transformative stories of those who engage intentionally with this Guiding Statement.”
  • That the 227th General Assembly (2026) consider forming a 2030 Vision Team to explore a new Guiding Statement “that will help us name and claim our denominational identity as we seek to follow the Spirit into the future decade.”

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