From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] 214th General Assembly convenes in Columbus

Date 15 Jun 2002 19:53:40 -0400

Note #7224 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

214th General Assembly convenes in Columbus
June 15, 2002

214th General Assembly convenes in Columbus

by Nancy Rodman

COLUMBUS, OH - With the singing of hymns and a procession of banners, the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) convened here on June 15. The opening plenary session featured the commissioning of 553 elder and minister commissioners, 165 Youth Advisory Delegates, 25 Theological Seminary Advisory Delegates, 8 Mission Advisory Delegates and 10 Ecumenical Advisory Delegates, who will spend the next week making decisions about the mission of the PC(USA).

	The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, the stated clerk of the Assembly and the chief ecclesiological officer of the denomination, set the tone for the gathering, telling the commissioners and advisory delegates: "The sole reason we are here this week is to discern the will of Christ."

Then Kirkpatrick led the commissioners and advisors through a voting "practice" that revealed that 81 percent of commissioners are at their first GA, 52 percent of the Advisory Delegates are not yet 20 years old, and 19 percent of all the participants have read all the reports prepared to familiarize them with the agenda.

	The Rev. Jack Rogers, moderator of the 213th GA, reported on his year in office, noting that he has visited 63 congregations, 44 presbyteries, 3 synods, and 4 countries, one of which, Egypt, he had visited as a youth, nearly a half-century ago.

	Kirkpatrick, in his report, talked about an earlier Assembly in Columbus, in 1862, when commissioners called for a new "covenant of reconciliation." He said there is a hunger in the church today for a similar spirit. He said this year's GA, by acting in a spirit of love and grace, can "leave a legacy to inspire Presbyterians to truly be ambassadors for Christ." Kirkpatrick encouraged the commissioners to support the Mission Initiative, a proposed effort to raise $40 million for mission personnel and for church development and redevelopment, especially in racial-ethnic communities.

	John Detterick, the executive director of the General Assembly Council (GAC), also called on the commissioners to endorse the Mission Initiative, which he said would fund 45 mission personnel for 10 years and increase presbyteries' resources for church growth and racial-ethnic development.

	In other business, the commissioners and advisors heard brief reports from the GAC and its divisions - Congregational Ministries, National Ministries and Worldwide Ministries.

	The Committee on Local Arrangements, representing Scioto Valley Presbytery, showed videos on the history and ministry of the area's Presbyterians and announced that the presbytery had made a donation in Rogers' honor to the Easter Seal Society of Ohio.
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