Wednesday, June 21, 2006

GA Day 7 – Last Day Full Day of Business

Stories from June 20, 2006

Today’s Docket

  • 10:30 am Business Meeting, watch live via the internet,
    Church Polity
    STORYLINE: What once was a pocket size overview of principles that define and unite Presbyterians has become an encyclopedia of regulations. What once was a mission organization has become a regulatory agency. Several attempts to reverse this trend over the past decade have failed. This time it is the Office of the General Assembly that is proposing trimming and simplifying the B/O.
    PROPOSAL(S): • That chapter 14 be revised with many of the regulatory details to be deleted, and entrusted to the ordaining bodies. • That a task force be created to study and propose additional revisions to the Form of Government. Ovt. proposing that churches can choose their presbytery affiliation, and presbyteries can choose their synod affiliation.
    THEOLOGICAL/MISSIONAL ISSUES AT STAKE: Can the PC(USA) recover its role as mission agency? Shall we be a network of presbyteries or a topdown hierarchy? Can the integrity and unity of ministries be sustained if presbyteries are free to work out specifics?
  • 2:00 pm Business Meeting, watch live via the internet,
    General Assembly Procedures
    Presbyterian Historical Society in Montreat: Several ovts. oppose: Shall the GA affirm the action of the OGA to close the historical office there and consolidate it in Philadelphia? Many overtures oppose action of the OGA. One seeks to amend the church's open meeting law to have place and time information posted on the PC(USA) Web site before meetings and to make all materials available to observers; the other seeks financial reports on the projected and actual costs of General Assembly task forces or work groups.
    Social Justice Issues
    STORYLINE: Longstanding commitment to make a difference in the culture: “the promotion of social righteousness” and “the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.” New issues are arising daily, plus old ones are continually changing.
    PROPOSAL(S): Call to address poverty and economic justice Proposed policy papers: • On persons with diabilities • On usury • On economic globalization and international debt • On economic security for older adults • On torture. declaring suicide bombing a crime against humanity; raising the federal minimum wage; calling Presbyterians to take positive and immediate steps to live "carbon-neutral lives"; abandoning mountaintop removal of coal; and adopting a program of the Mennonite Central Committee that seeks the return of unidentifiable remains of American aboriginal peoples.
    THEOLOGICAL/MISSIONAL ISSUES AT STAKE: Economic justice concerns: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Struggle to address such concerns without sounding like partisan politics.
    Health Issues - Ovts recommending opposition to late-term abortions. church to support the closing of a landfill in East New Orleans because its toxic contents will be a threat to the community that was largely abandoned due to Hurricane Katrina.
    Peacemaking and International Issues
    STORYLINE: 2004 GA directed program of divestment; accusations of anti-semitism arose from Jewish community, echoed by many Presbyterians.
    PROPOSAL(S): Two dozen overtures urging GA to reverse or alter plans to divest funds from corporations benefiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land • Also an overture: new task force to study our Middle East policy.
    COUNTER PROPOSAL(S): Overtures to reaffirm action of 2004 GA.
    THEOLOGICAL/MISSIONAL ISSUES AT STAKE: Theological significance of Israel • Dispensationalism (with its militant Christian Zionism) vs. Reformed views of Israel. • History of anti-semitism • Ecumenical/mission partnerships with Palestinian Christians • Convergence of religion, politics, and peacemaking
  • 7:00 pm Evening Worship, the assembly participants will gather for one last worship service before the assembly completes its business and heads home.
  • 8:15 pm Business Meeting, watch live via the internet, whatever business is left from the morning and afternoon

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