From Lament to Hope

The 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) took place beginning with hybrid plenaries on June 18, followed by in person committee meetings over the next two weeks, and concluding with virtual plenary meetings July 5-9.

The first order of business was to ratify the actions of the 224th General Assembly, since the PC(USA) was not authorized to hold electronic meetings. And then the Manual of the General Assembly was amended to authorize electronic meetings going forward. For these purposes, a quorum of “in person” commissioners were gathered in Louisville, KY, with other participants joined electronically. A majority of those gathered in person and constituting an in person quorum voted in favor of the ratification and Manual amendment, thus authorizing proceeding with business over the next several weeks.

Much work was accomplished at the 225th General Assembly. A summary of some major actions is available here:

Among those major actions was the adoption of a revision of the Rules of Discipline (the “D” section of the Book of Order), that will now be sent to presbyteries for their consideration. This completes a Book of Order revision process that began with the adoption of a revised Form of Government (or “G” section), and at the same time the creation of the Foundations of Presbyterian Polity (or “F” section) that had formerly been included as the opening chapters of “G.” That revision was adopted by the 219th GA (2010). The Directory for Worship (the “W” section) was next, with its revision adopted by the 222nd GA (2016).

The Rules of Discipline revision was written by a six member “task force” also approved by the 222nd GA, and was to have reported to the 224th GA (2020). Due to the pandemic, no constitutional business was addressed at that assembly, so it instead came to the 225th GA.

Two of the six members of the Rules of Discipline Task Force are from the Synod of Living Waters: Elder Therese Howell (Stated Clerk of the presbyteries of Middle Tennessee and North Alabama), and Rev. Greg Goodwiller, Synod Executive and Executive and Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of St. Andrew. Feel free to contact either of them as your presbytery considers the revision!