General Assembly

June 30 thru July 7, 2012. More information on the Official Website.

Article by Rev. Rebecca Kirkpatrick, Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, South Bend, Presbytery of Wabash Valley

This summer the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will meet in the city of Pittsburgh, PA to make decisions about the life of our denomination in its policies, ministries and mission in the world.

The issues discussed and acted upon at any given General Assembly can both be very tedious in the details but also very broad in their vision for who the church is becoming. At this year’s Assembly the following is just a sample of what will be acted upon:

  • The redevelopment of congregations through the –Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program
  • Presbyterian Investments in socially responsible corporations
  • The possible restructure of the Presbyterian government that would significantly effect the work of the Synod
  • Presbyterian statements on Corporal Punishment, Abortion, Same Sex Marriage and other hot topics
  • An endorsement of the new Presbyterian Hymnal

The business is often difficult to understand from an outside perspective, which is why when news agencies report on the most sensational of the business, they often get details and intentions wrong. To track all of the business at the General Assembly this summer, check out the website www.pc-biz.org.

Who goes to GA?

General Assembly meetings are open; anyone may register and attend the Assembly when it is in general session, but only commissioners vote. What is a commissioner?

Commissioners from Chicago Presbytery were elected by the Assembly on Nov. 19, 2011. They are:

Teaching elders

Rev. Judith Watt, Chicago Fourth (2011 PA moderator);
Rev. Deborah Paton, Chicago Rogers Park (2012 PA moderator);
Rev. Michael Kirby, Chicago Good Shepherd;
Rev. Grayson Van Camp, H.R.;
Rev. Reggie Weaver, Chicago First;
Rev. Dean Lindsey (alternate)

Ruling elders

Mr. James Davidovich, Elmhurst;
Mr. Sam Evans, Chicago Fourth;
Ms. Juanita Holley, Wheaton Hope;
Ms. Arrie Jones, Chicago Pullman;
Mr. James Shrigley, Hanover Park.
Mr. Ray Green, Evanston First (alternate)

Young Adult Advisory Delegate

Ms. Amanda Gregus, Riverside
Ms. Jean Bonthron, Homewood (alternate)

Quite a number of other people from our presbytery are going as Overture Advocates (to support certain causes) or to monitor or contribute to discussion on certain topics, or just to network and run into Presbyterian friends who are never all in the same place at the same time.

How can I follow the 220th GA?

Article by Presbyterian News Service’s Jerry L. Van Marter. “News from GA will be plentiful and in many formats” June 29, 2012

Online, coverage of Assembly events will be available as they happen on www.pcusa.org/GA220.

News stories will also be available on the “News and Announcements” page of the PC(USA) website and all email subscribers will receive those stories automatically.

VoiceLine, the PC(USA)’s recorded telephone information service, will feature daily three-minute summaries of the Assembly’s activities [available after 6:00 pm. Eastern Time] and a five-minute wrap-up of the entire Assembly at its conclusion [available by 1:00 p.m., one hour after adjournment on Saturday, July 7]. Call 1-800-728-7228, ext. 2012, or 502-569-5000, ext. 2012.

The Assembly can be followed on Twitter at @presbyGA [and via the hashtag #ga220].

Assembly in Brief, the 16-page bulletin insert-size summary of the Assembly jointly produced by the Presbyterian News Service and the Office of the General Assembly, will be available for PDF download by Wednesday, July 11. The publication is free.

A new GA communications feature this year is a “comment line.” Those wishing to register their comments on any Assembly action may do so by email at ga.amendments@pcusa.org.

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