Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Top 10 Issues Before the GA

The retiring Stated Clerk of the PC(USA), Rev. Clif Kirkpatrick, released his own "Top 10" Most Important Issues that will be coming before the 218th General Assembly in San Jose. The list is based on the overtures before the GA and his travels and conversations around the country in the past two years since the last GA. Here is Kirkpatrick's list:

A revised Form of Government
The Form of Government Task Force was created by the 217th General Assembly (2006) to propose a revised polity that would be more flexible, foundational and appropriate for a missional Reformed church in the 21st century. The task force is bringing a revised Form of Government for adoption by the assembly and recommendation to the presbyteries.

Partnership in World Mission
The 217th General Assembly called for a consultation between the General Assembly Council World Mission program and a variety of mission initiators in the PC(USA). The fruits of that consultation will be before this assembly in a call for an “Expanding Partnership in God’s Mission” that involves a wide variety of groups working together for the renewal of PC(USA) World Mission.

PC(USA) ecumenical stance and covenants
The 218th General Assembly will take action on a number of ecumenical items, including a proposed new policy on the ecumenical stance of the PC(USA) and covenant agreements with four different churches: the Korean Presbyterian Church in America, the Episcopal Church, the Catholic Church and the Moravian Church.

Peace, unity and purity of the PC(USA)
Several proposals concerning the peace, unity and purity of the church will be before this year’s assembly, including fresh ways to use discernment in our life together, reconsideration of some or all of the actions of the previous assembly in this area and proposals to change the constitutional standards for ordination.

The Belhar Confession
This assembly will be asked to act on a proposal to take the first step toward adding the Belhar Confession to The Book of Confessions. This confession grows out of the experience of Christians in South Africa and is an affirmation of the biblical call to Christian unity and racial reconciliation.

Middle East concerns
Before this General Assembly will be a variety of overtures and advocacy committee proposals to strengthen the PC(USA)’s witness to peace with justice in relation to both Israel/Palestine and Iraq.

A Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) will be elected to a two-year term, and a new Stated Clerk of the General Assembly will be elected to a four-year term.

Growing God’s Church Deep and Wide
The General Assembly Council is challenging the whole church to adopt a two-year commitment to grow the church in membership, in discipleship and in diversity.

Domestic social justice concerns
This assembly will address a large number of social justice concerns, including the adoption of a new Social Creed, as well as the adoption of major policy papers on serious mental illness, energy and global warming, pay equity for women, homelessness and electoral reform.

A church for future generations
One assembly committee will do generative thinking as it focuses on the church’s ministry to and with youth to ensure a church for future generations.

As GA approaches, what do you think are the most important issues before the church? Share in the comments below, and the blog editor will try to track developments on the issues most important to New Covenant.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Interviews with Moderator Candidates

New Covenant Commissioners to GA, staff, observers and PresbyPolityGeeks-at-large will want to log onto the Decently and In Order website where you can listen to podcast interviews with each of the candidates for Moderator of the PC(USA). The interviews give you a chance to get a more complete impression of each candidate than is possible from reading print articles and interviews. And, by the way, Rev. Shawn Coons (associate co-pastor St. Philip PC, Houston) is one of the members of the Decently and In Order team. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

PNC's Overture: Intergenerational Injustice

PNC sent one overture to General Assembly. The overture was assigned to the Social Justice Committee for consideration and one of our commissioners, Rev. Mark Cooper, co-pastor of ChristChurch, Bellaire, has been assigned to serve on the Social Justice Committee.

The overture originated with the session of First Presbyterian Church, Pearland and Rev. Casey Jones, the pastor of that church, will serve as advocate for the overture.

The overture reads as follows:

On the Church Addressing Intergenerational Injustice

The Presbytery of New Covenant overtures the 218th General Assembly (2008) to do the following:

1. Declare that federal government practices and policies that create ever-increasing debt and unfunded or underfunded obligations for future generations of Americans are a grave moral concern as well as a clear danger to the republic.

2. Call upon public leaders to have the courage to address this economic and moral crisis while there is still time.

3. Call upon individual Presbyterians, sessions, presbyteries, and agencies of General Assembly to study, pray, and speak words of justice and morality into the present situation and to defend future generations who have no defense. We do not at this time call upon General Assembly agencies to prepare study documents or study papers, and we do not propose that the church at this time have a monolithic policy recommendation. We do call upon the church and the nation to study the policies and practices that have created this grave moral and economic crisis, to repent of the sins of greed and of stealing from future generations who cannot defend themselves, and to call upon our citizens and national leaders to make the sacrifices necessary to begin to solve this problem before it is too late.

4. Call on the nation for a day of prayer on this issue.

The rationale for the overture can be read on the GA website: pc-biz.org.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Doing GA Web 2.0 Style!

PNC's own "geekrev", Shawn Coons is organizing fellow Presbybloggers to do General Assembly "Web 2.0-style." Read all about it on his blog here.

There is a link on the sidebar for PNC bloggers who will be attending and/or following the GA on their blogs. Please let us know in the comments if you would like your blog added to this list.

Monday, May 12, 2008

PNC Commissioners and Committee Assignments

At Saturday's presbytery meeting the commissioners to the 218th General Assembly were formally commissioned. We have ten commissioners and one Youth Advisory Delegated slated to attend the General Assembly. Youth Advisory Delegates have voice but not a vote at General Assembly. Each commissioner and YAD is assigned to serve on a committee at General Assembly and those assignments have been made as follows:


1. Jean Boisaubin, Spring Branch Presbyterian Church, Houston, Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations

2. George Bones, First Presbyterian Church, Houston, Church Growth & Christian Education

3. Monica Lin, Formosan Presbyterian Church, Houston, Review of GA Permanent Committees

4. Herb Myers, First Presbyterian Church, Alvin, Form of Government Revision

5. Libby Stapleton First Presbyterian Church, Lufkin, Theological Issues & Institutions


6. Deborah Cenko, First Presbyterian Church, Wharton, Mission Coordination & Budgets

7. Mark Cooper, ChristChurch, Bellaire, Social Justice Issues

8. Sam Fabila, Biyaya Community Church, Missouri City, Church Orders & Ministry

9. Dave Peterson, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Houston, Health Issues

10. Gene Price, Woodlands Community Church, Woodlands, Peacemaking & International Issues

11. Maricarmen Cabral, St. Giles Presbyterian Church, Houston, Church Polity

Please pray for our commissioners as they prepare to fulfill their committee assignments!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

PNC Commends Candidacy of Rev. Casey Jones

At its May 10th stated meeting, the Presbytery of New Covenant voted to adopt a resolution commending the candidacy of Rev. Winfield ("Casey") Jones for the position of Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PCUSA. Rev. Jones is a member of the PNC and pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Pearland.

The motion was made by Rev. Kevin Keaton, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Sugar Land and reads as follows:

"Two days ago, the Stated Clerk nominating committee of the General Assembly announced three additional certified candidates for the office of GA stated clerk in addition to its nominee, associate stated clerk Gradye Parsons. Only 13 people who had applied last year were eligible to be nominees. A member of our Presbytery, Winfield Casey Jones, had declared his intent under the option provided under our polity to have his name placed in nomination.

The Presbytery of new Covenant, meeting in a Stated Meeting on May 10, 2008, expresses its thanks to the Stated Clerk Nominating Committee for its hard and prayerful work. We ask the 218th General Assembly to honor that work and its goal of finding the person whom God has selected for this office in two ways.

First, we ask the 218th General Assembly to seriously and prayerfully consider and honor the committee's nominee, Gradye Parsons.

Second, knowing the heart, work and gifts for ministry of Winfield Casey Jones as we do we also commend him to the 218th General Assembly for its serious and prayerful consideration for the position of Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)."