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Fossil fuels, Middle East, denomination structures and funding likely to dominate General Assembly


Three slates of candidates stand for moderator of GA223 in St. Louis

June 14, 2018

Several issues are shaping up to take center stage June 16–23 when the 223rd General Assembly convenes in St. Louis.

The first order of business for the 538 commissioners and about 200 advisory delegates will be to elect their moderator. Then the 13 Assembly committees will work their way through the items of business this Assembly will consider.

That business will include social and theological issues and the internal workings of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The 10 issues most apt to capture major attention:

  1. Election of the Moderator: Two co-moderator teams and one moderator/vice-moderator pair have announced their intention to stand for They are Chantal D. Atnip, a ruling elder from the Presbytery of Carlisle standing for moderator with her vice-moderator running mate the Rev. Ken Hockenberry of Chicago Presbytery; the Rev. Eliana Maxim of Seattle Presbytery and the Rev. Bertram Johnson of New York City Presbytery as co-moderators; and the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann of the Presbytery of Boston and Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida as co-moderators.
  1. Fossil fuel divestment: An overture — OVT 006 from Hudson River Presbytery — has been submitted asking PC(USA) investing agencies to divest of stock in fossil fuel More than 30 presbyteries have concurred with the overture. Other overtures from New Covenant Presbytery (OVT 14 and OVT 59), Newton Presbytery (OVT 40), Monmouth Presbytery (OVT 47 and OVT 48) and Twin Cities Area Presbytery (OVT 57) address climate change and environmental justice.
  1. Israel-Palestine/Middle East: Several overtures ask for continued work on Middle East peace, particularly in Israel-Palestine. Overtures are from the Synod of the Covenant (OVT 020 and OVT 21), Grace Presbytery (OVT 025), San Francisco Presbytery (OVT 029 and OVT 030), Philadelphia Presbytery (OVT 42) and Redwoods Presbytery (OVT 46). An overture from Cascades Presbytery (OVT 010) calls for the PC(USA) to respond to the crisis in
  1. Per capita: A 2019 per capita increase of $2.98 per member to $10.71 (a 39 percent increase over 2018) and $.74 in 2020 to $11.45 is being sought by the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly in order to rebuild and reinforce the work of mid councils with their congregations denomination- An overture from Newton Presbytery (OVT 018) seeks a study of the system of per capita funding in the PC(USA).
  1. The Way Forward: The question of who speaks to and for Presbyterians in the church and the world has received attention by the Way Forward Commission, a group appointed by the 222nd General The commission’s recommendations strengthen the office of General Assembly Stated Clerk.
  1. Racism/poverty/violence: A report from local and denominational leaders entitled “The Gospel from Louis” will come to the Assembly through the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy. Through the “Hands and Feet” initiative launched by General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II, Assembly-goers will have opportunities to learn, engage in direct community service, and participate in public witness events around the issues of racism, poverty and violence.
  1. Immigration: The Assembly is apt to address the plight of some 800,000 immigrants whose status is uncertain due to the federal government’s failure to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors)
  1. Gun violence: New Castle Presbytery has submitted OVT 51, which addresses the epidemic of gun violence in this country, affirms previous General Assembly policies designed to reduce gun violence and urges all Presbyterians to pray for an end to gun violence and to take steps to reduce gun violence in the S.
  1. Paid family leave: The Presbytery of Boston has submitted three overtures (OVT 032, OVT 033 and OVT 034) that instruct the Board of Pensions to include 12 weeks of paid parental leave as part of its benefits A similar overture has been submitted by Twin Cities Area Presbytery (OVT 56).
  1. Pastoral leadership for immigrant congregations: An overture from de Cristo Presbytery (OVT 017) seeks more flexible ways to ordain immigrant congregational leaders as ruling elders in order to provide more and better leadership for the whole church.

Jerry Van Marter, Office of the General Assembly Communications

Today’s Focus:  223rd General Assembly in St. Louis

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Emily Green, PMA
Diane Moffett, PMA

Let us pray:

Loving God, you call us to reach out to the most vulnerable among us. Open our ears to hear their cries, and give us wisdom as we seek to serve. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 116; 147:12-20
First Reading Ecclesiastes 11:1-8
Second Reading Galatians 5:16-24
Gospel Reading Matthew 16:13-20
Evening Psalms 26; 130