From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Rousing worship gets Assembly underway

Date 16 Jun 2002 20:12:09 -0400

Note #7230 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Rousing worship gets Assembly underway
June 16, 2002

Rousing worship gets Assembly underway

by Midge Mack

COLUMBUS, OH - The bell-ringing harmony of the Overbrook (Presbyterian Church) Belles, majestic musical preludes, a rousing sermon, and a hymn specially commissioned for this year's General on its theme, Ambassadors for Christ - those were among the highlights of the opening Assembly worship service on June 16.

More than 7,000 people attended the service in Battelle Hall of the Hyatt Regency Columbus, taking part in the most populous event of the weeklong annual gathering of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

To the words and music of "God of Grace and God of Glory," Columbus-area pastors streamed in from one side of the cavernous arena while this year's retiring and newly assigned PC(USA) missionaries entered across the way.

East Tennessee commissioner Kitty Rasa called the congregation to worship with words from the Presbyterian Confession of 1967: "No one is more subject to (God's) judgment than one who assumes innocence before God and superiority to others."

"Let All The World Sing," a new choral arrangement of Psalm 67, was presented by the massed choirs of the churches of Scioto Valley Presbytery. The Rev. Jack Rogers, moderator of last year's GA, explored in his sermon "the richness and complexity of the core of Paul's message" in the second chapter of Second Corinthians, his sermon text.

"The Good News translation of this passage properly treats the personhood of God, in Christ," Rogers said, quoting: "No longer do we judge anyone by human standards, for in Christ the old is gone, the new is come." He added: "So we are ambassadors for Christ, making friends for Christ, who first made us His friends and gave us the message to make others His friends."

Rogers described how viewpoints can change when people and events are viewed through "the lens of Christ." He lifted up a recent Presbyterian emphasis of concern for people with disabilities, and celebrated the accomplishments of men and women engaged in Presbyterian mission abroad.

"God has done everything necessary for us to be God's ambassadors," he concluded. "What a trusting God!"

The service continued with celebration of the Lord's Supper, special music by the Assembly Singers, a Columbus children's choir, and the commissioning of PC(USA) mission workers.

Nine mission workers retiring this year after long periods of service were recognized, as were 317 commissioned this year: 11 young adult interns, 79 long-term volunteers, 61 young adult volunteers, 35 summer-service volunteers, 61 short-term volunteers, 31 mission co-workers and 40 missionaries to the United States.

Rogers designated the morning's offering to go for HIV/AIDS relief in Africa, special education in Egypt and theological education in Spain, needs he encountered in his travels during his year as moderator.
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