Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday Evening GA Update

PresbyFriends, GA continued to meet until almost midnight last night. Here's my summary of significant actions taken in the evening session:

Definition of Marriage Not Changed--In the most contentious debate of the evening, the recommendation of the Church Polity Committee that an overture to redefine marriage as between "two people" be disapproved was adopted. Civil rights for same sex couples and "gracious response" to congregations departing the PCUSA were also adopted. Full story from PNS here.

Peace Making. Recommendations from the Peace and International Issues Committee were approved, including “responsibly” bringing the troops home from Iraq, continuing peacemaking in Israel and Palestine and supporting human rights in Zimbabwe, the Philippines, North Korea and Columbia. This was another lengthy and sometimes contentious debate, and I had to question why we would spend so much time on issues the GA has scant influence over and so little time on debating and taking actions that would help make new disciples, build new congregations and churches and re-develop struggling ones. But that's just me. Full story from PNS here.

New Social Creed Adopted-- From the Social Justice Issues Committee, this new social creed calls for equal pay for comparable work, protection from dangerous working conditions, criminal rehabilitation through restorative justice, an end to the death penalty, tax and budget policies that reduce disparities between rich and poor, affordable housing, sustainable use of resources and just immigration policies. Full story from PNS here.

Tomorrow there is a called presbytery meeting scheduled to hear the report from our New Covenant commissioners to GA. (For those of you in New Covenant who want to attend, that will be 3 pm at Pines Presbyterian Church, Houston.) We'll have a lot to talk about.


Presbyterian Gal said...

I'm confused. If there was a "gracious response" to congregations departing the PCUSA adopted, then doesn't action 03-21 run counter to that in setting up a mission fund or whatever kind of fund to collect money to continue lawsuits against departing congregations and their trustees? Or am I misunderstanding something?

Thanks for your reporting again. I'm with you on the excess time taken on issues the GA doesn't control.

Quotidian Grace said...

Join the confused club, PG. I think the rationale for the "gracious response" thing was that it was pastoral advice--not legal counsel. Since the motion to increase per capita to pay for the legal fund failed, it will be funded by voluntary contributions. We'll see how much interest in that there is.

Mac said...

Not to worry--any funds designated to that "mission" cannot go to any presbytery that is involved to date. The fund was to protect presbyteries from litigation instituted by "The New Wineskins Transitional Presbytery of the EPC."

No such litigation has been instituted and none will be--NWEPOC would have no standing. The suits are between the local church corporation and the presbyter corporation.

To pay the presbyteries out of that fund would be to violate the charter which created the fund. I'm also betting that the contributions to that fund will be small to non-existent. But, concerning the mind-set of the national bureaucracy, I may be wrong.

Reformed Catholic said...

I do not envy your meeting tomorrow QC, I expect that a large bottle of Tums should be available at the Moderator's podium.

Christine said...

Good luck with tomorrow's meeting, QG. These are hard and weighty things the church has to deal with.

Mary Beth said...


Ruby said...

May you be filled with a spirit of strength and kindness for the day to come.

Quotidian Grace said...

Ruby, Thanks for your word of encouragement!

Mac said...

QG: I'll be praying for and during your meeting.

God be with you, dear sister.


Presbyterian Gal said...

Thanks QG. Prayers for your strength and stamina in moderating duties! This next year might well be more contentious than last.