This summer the Presbyterian Church had its very first hybrid General Assembly, with committees meeting in person at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, KY and the all assembly plenary meeting online. As with every General Assembly, this assembly, the 225th, began its time together by electing Co-Moderators to lead them through their business. The Reverends Ruth Santana-Grace and Shavon Starling-Louis were elected as Co-Moderators.
Following the opening plenaries and the election of Santana-Grace and Starling-Louis the committees began meeting over a course of several weeks. Each committee recommended business to the assembly which was addressed during the online plenaries.
Among the many items of business were resolutions and actions meant to further the mission and justice work of the church. Included in these actions was a financial divestment from 5 oil and gas companies following years of unsuccessful engagement advocating for climate change reducing action.
According to the Office of the General Assembly the “General Assembly approved a motion that the church renew its commitment to end gun violence by developing a 10-year campaign, the Decade to End Gun Violence (2022 – 2032).”
Among the several items approved by the assembly regarding Race and Gender Justice was “On Offering an Apology to African Americans for the Sin of Slavery and Its Legacy”. A part of the apology offered included a Litany of Repentance. A powerful moment during the assembly was when all of the white commissioners and corresponding members read the litany, which begins with the words “As white Christians we repent of our complicity in the belief in white supremacy.” This resolution continues the work the Presbyterian Church has been undertaking to dismantle structural racism.
Along with the mission and justice work the assembly undertook there was much work done to change or strengthen the structures and polity of the denomination. Perhaps the most notable of these was approving the merger of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Office of the General Assembly. This move was made in part to be better stewards of the church’s financial resources.
One other notable resolution passed will, pending approval by a majority of presbyteries, would provide 12 weeks of paid family leave for installed pastors and other church employees. This policy provides not only for leave when a family is bringing a new child into the household, but also for situations of loss or care for family members.
These are only a few of the actions taken by the General Assembly this summer. To read more about the assembly please see the articles below from the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Outlook.
Grace and Peace,