Setting aside my worries about the “Tom-Foolery” at GA (which will be present in any representation of the Church on this side of Christ’s Return), I thought it would be helpful to give you a little taste of what business is expected at this year’s GA. I’ve broken down the business into three categories: Overtures, Seminars, and Worship.
There are currently 63 Overtures presented to the General Assembly, and 43 of those have to do with Racial Reconciliation and Repentance. Many of these overtures are copies of an original overture from the Missouri Presbytery, recognizing and repenting of the PCA’s complicit and historical involvement in racial discrimination, calling the Church to prayer and reconciliation. What debates and dialogue is had on this issue will not be about the nature of racism as sin nor the Church’s need for repentance, but rather what the repentance looks like and how we move forward together.
The remaining overtures include several memorials to Elders who have died, and minor corrections and additions to the Book of Church Order. All of the amendments, and those that are presented on the floor of the Assembly, will first be considered and refined in the appropriate committees, and those which pass the committees will then be debated and voted upon by the Assembly as a whole. A complete list of the overtures is available here.
Not only is General Assembly a time to prayerfully deliberate on important issues, it is also a time of learning. I’m really looking forward to the Seminars that are offered this year. One title that really caught my eye was: Making Session Meetings the Best Night of the Month, or How the Session is Supposed to Work! Um, yes! This seminar does conflict with a GA for Rookies class, but I think I know which one I’ll be attending.
Other Seminar titles that seem interesting are: Sexual Confusion in the Church: Becoming a Welcoming Church While Remaining Biblical; Advancing the Gospel in a Changing North America; The Pulpit and Public Theology in the Public Square, Presbyterian Style; and Hymns for the Life of the Church: Facing a Task Unfinished. I am encouraged by the fact that our denominations national gathering isn’t just business and politicking, but is a time for study, fellowship, and growth.
When the Church comes together, it’s primary duty is the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the practice of holy worship. I am looking forward to a time of refreshment and praise as we come together to worship God as the General Assembly of the PCA. The messages during worship will be given by Jim Wert, Tim Keller, and Thurman Williams, and the music for worship on Wednesday night will be led by Keith and Kristyn Getty. I found out also that there is a choir rehearsal on Tuesday night before worship, so I might be able to join the choir one evening as well.
As I promised before, I will be trying to give daily updates from GA, providing I have a reliable internet access, and the time to process my thoughts and reflections. I encourage you to be praying for the gathering of the General Assembly, and stay informed by reading the updates, or following along at www.pcanet.org, or by reading the news updates from By Faith magazine at www.byfaithonline.com.
Grace and peace!