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.

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