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Notes from GA 2018

Here’s a brief overview of General Assembly Actions/Activities from Bear Ride:

  • $48,000 was raised to assist The Bail Project to help bail out local folks in St. Louis jails with minor infractions and no resources. Hundreds of Presbyterians marched the mile to the Justice Center in an amazing display of solidarity and call for eliminating the cash-bail system.
  • A rally was held to speak out on immigrants’ rights and the injustice of separating families. Stated Clerk, J. Herbert Nelson declared: ‘We must not punish desperate parents by tearing their children away from them.’  Full text available: https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/oga/pdf/jhn_statement_child_separation_at_borders_061618.pdf
  • Daily witness by Presbyterian peacemakers reminded the hundreds of commissioners of our obligation to care for Creation by divesting Presbyterian money from companies trading in Fossil Fuels. There’s still work to do – the Assembly voted to support the proposal from our Mission Responsibility Through Investment board to remain actively engaged with corporate boards.  Report back will be at the next GA (2020).
  • The Way Forward … a somewhat technical and certainly controversial proposal to make the PCUSA more nimble and accessible in these times of transition and reformation was passed overwhelmingly.
  • New People: The Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett was elected to become the new leader of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Diane made an immediate impression on the commissioners with her prophetic witness and her history of innovative ministry that bridges race, migrant status, and community.  Here election was unanimous.  Our two top elected officials are African American (Nelson and Moffett)– and our co-moderators are both women (again) – Cindy Kolhman (minister from MA) and Vilmarie Cintron-Olivieras (a native Puerto Rican).  We are a diverse community after all!
  • Middle East: Unlike previous years, the Assembly raced through this business in about 30 minutes. Two Commissioner Resolutions were affirmed: One dealt with recent violence along the border between Israel and Gaza and another with reconciliation ministries in Israel and Palestine.  In addition, GA affirmed the church’s support for the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. An amendment added to the measure a call for the United States to rejoin and reengage with the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • And in that same report, the Assembly approved a measure urging Presbyterians to reach out in open, truthful dialogue with Jewish colleagues, engaging the issue of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Called on RE/MAX LLC to stop facilitating the sale of property in Israeli settlements.

And, we:

  • Adopted a motion urging the inclusion of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” to the Book of Confessions.
  • Affirmed the support of Peace Churches.
  • Affirmed the urgency of working against gun violence.
  • Began the process of establishing an LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Committee on the GA level.
  • Much, much, much more! For a complete recap with pictures, go to pres-outlook.org.