Controversial Decisions of the 221st General Assembly

by Bob Reynolds, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Chicago

By now many of you are aware of PC (USA) General Assembly actions during its recent biennial meeting in Detroit. Decisions made there are being praised by some and criticized by others, particularly regarding two controversial issues: (a) gay marriage and (b) divestment of church funds from three American corporations whose products advance the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories. Clearly, different and sometimes polarizing perspectives are held on each of these issues among teaching and ruling elders, members and friends of congregations, ecumenical and interfaith partners, and the general public. Press coverage has not always been helpful.

Whatever our personal views may be, we have important pastoral responsibilities of listening to and caring for people impacted by these monumental decisions. In these contexts, I am certain we share the pastoral goal of seeking Christ’s peace and reconciliation, both inside and outside the church. But, even so, we are swimming in turbulent waters where the church’s credibility and authority are either strengthening from decisive currents or straining on the river’s shoals.

I am writing to say that the presbytery staff and I are praying for you and the church we love and for our individual and collective efforts to accurately interpret GA actions and create opportunities for informative dialogue.

Toward that end, you may find it useful to click on these links concerning gay marriage and divestment.

Also, if we can be helpful listeners or GA interpreters, please contact Stated Clerk Barbara Bundick, Associate Executive Jan Edmiston, Director of Business Affairs Eric Heinekamp, or me.

May God’s people be reassured of Christ’s love, even as we remain vigilant in discerning his truth!

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