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Topics of interest to Clerks of Session, Session Moderators and others who are interested in Presbyterian local-church governance.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What's Ahead at the General Assembly

This Fourth of July morning marks the mid-point of the Assembly, a brief pause while committee reports are put in order, and the commissioners catch a quick breather before they undertake the marathon rounds of plenary sessions yet to come.

Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I'm reposting here a section from The G.A. Junkie blog - a remarkable site that displays the product of a lot of hard work on the part of its author - that summarizes the most notable actions coming out of committees and when they can expect to come before the full General Assembly in plenary session:

Marriage - The request for an AI was not recommended but the overture asking that the Directory for Worship be changed to read that marriage is between "two people" is recommended

Mid Councils - Recommendations to form a task force to reduce the number of synods, no provisional experimental/non-geographic presbyteries, a task force to review GAMC and OGA and a Racial Ethnic Ministries Task Force (Outlook article)

Middle East - MRTI's divestment recommendations recommended (Outlook article)

Special Offerings - Recommendation that most are preserved in their current form with the Communion Offering to be restructured (Outlook article)

Church Orders - Most asked-for changes to the Book of Order were not recommended, but on a split decision (28-20) they are recommending adding to G-2.0104a (previously G-6.0106a) the phrase "This includes repentance of sin and diligent use of the means of grace." (Outlook article)

Confessions - The revised version of the Heidelberg Catechism was recommended as well as a recommendation for a redo of the process to add the Belhar Confession (Outlook article)

Plenary sessions resume at 2 PM this afternoon. Bills and Overtures has posted a proposed docket for the rest of the Assembly. Live streaming will resume and Bills and Overtures has done a pretty good job of spreading out the reports generally giving us one high-profile issue per session:
  • Confessions - Wednesday afternoon
  • Mid Council Issues - about 10 AM Thursday morning
  • Middle East - about 3 PM Thursday afternoon
  • Mission Coordination (Special Offerings) - Thursday evening
  • Election of Standing Committee Members - Friday Morning
  • Review of Biennial Assemblies - Friday Morning
  • Immigration Issues - about 10 AM Friday morning (this is the hot-button item of the session)
  • Civil Union and Marriage - about 1:50 on Friday afternoon
  • Church Orders - about 3:30 on Friday afternoon
  • Peacemaking and International Issues - Friday evening

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