Teaching Elder Commissioner’s First Thoughts on GA222

Andy Meeker
Pastor, Wilmington Island Presbyterian Church

Some initial thoughts on my time at the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) held in Portland, Oregon.

The good news is that after being home for ten days, my sleep patterns are back on track (3-hour time changes are getting harder and harder to overcome!),and I am no longer dreaming about parliamentary procedures and Roberts Rules of Order (“I would like to offer an amendment on the amendment to make the minority report the main motion!”)

Many ground-breaking events took place at this year’s General Assembly:

  • We added the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions. This is the first addition in many years and the first one that comes from outside of Europe or the United States (South Africa).
  • We elected Co-Moderators for the first time (a change in the Standing Rules at the last Assembly permitted this) – and two women pastors, too! Denise Anderson from the Washington D.C. area and Rev. Jan Edmiston from Chicago.
  • We have a new Stated Clerk for our denomination, Rev. J. Hebert Nelson, the first African American to hold this position.

Lots of other business took place, as well.  Task Forces/Commissions were approved to not only study and make recommendations on the longer-term vision and function of the PC(USA) but also to look into the relationship between the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency.  There were statements and actions made concerning fossil fuels, the state of Israel, harms done to the Gay & Lesbian community, and many others.  Overall, there seemed to be a sense of moderation on many issues, with some more extreme positions tempered through the discernment process.  Both the Presbyterian Outlook and the Office of the General Assembly have more detailed reviews of what did (and did not) take place at this year’s Generals Assembly.

I very much appreciate the opportunity to attend the 222nd General Assembly and to participate in the work of the larger church.  I look forward to sharing more thoughts and reflections with many of you in the coming months.

In Christ,
Andy Meeker
Pastor, Wilmington Island Presbyterian Church
Savannah, Georgia
TE Commissioner to the 222nd General Assembly of the PC(USA)
Portland, Oregon

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