Category Archives: PCEA

General Assembly Season 2016

May 1st – The date on my calendar that marks the beginning of the General Assembly Season. This is our binge year, or we max out on GA’s, as we can include the two biennial assemblies and the triennial one.

So buckle up and here we go.

As always, this is the line-up as I know it – I will update as I clarify additional Assembly and Synod meetings.


61st General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
29 March-1 April 2016


The Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia
3-5 May 2016
Mt. Druitt, N.S.W.


General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Tasmania
10 May 2016 (begins)


General Assembly
Church of Scotland
21-27 May 2016




General Assembly
Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)
23-26 May, 2016



General Assembly
Free Church of Scotland
23-26 May 2016



General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of South Australia
22 May 2016 (anticipated) No Assembly this year – see comment below


Presbyterian_Church_in_Canada_(logo)142nd General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Canada
3-6 June 2016
York University
Toronto, Ontario



General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
6-10 June 2016


212th Stated Meeting of the General Synod
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
7-9 June 2016
Flat Rock, North Carolina


General Assembly
United Free Church of Scotland
8-10 June 2016


83rd General Assembly
Orthodox Presbyterian Church
8-14 June 2016
Sandy Cove Conference Center
North East, Maryland


logo+pcusa222nd General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
18-25 June 2016
Portland, Oregon


General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Queensland
19-23 June 2016
Brisbane Boys College



141st General Assembly
Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America

19-22 June 2016
Nashville, Tennessee
Concurrent with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church


186th General Assembly
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
20-24 June 2016
Nashville, Tennessee
Concurrent with Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America


01645A81-A5D8-4EB1-9E4C30D14028D30744th General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in America
20-24 June 2016
Mobile, Alabama


36th General Assembly
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
21-25 June 2016
Ward Church
Northville, Michigan



Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America
27-29 June 2016
Indiana Wesleyan University
Marion, Indiana



N.S.W. State Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Australia
in the State of New South Wales

4 July 2016 (begins)
Croydon, N.S.W.


80th General Synod
Bible Presbyterian Church
4-9 August 2016
Sharonville, Ohio

NYA_0National Youth Assembly
Church of Scotland
19-22 August 2016
(Technically not a governing
body, but still an Assembly I track)

General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Australia
12 September 2016 (begins)



General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Victoria
3 October 2016



General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Western Australia
28 October 2016
Peppermint Grove, WA


General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
15-19 November
University of Otago


These are the ones that I am tracking at the moment. I will update as appropriate. If I have missed one, or have information wrong or incomplete, please provide the appropriate information and I will update the list.

And, to make the GA season complete here are two more items…

The first is the series of articles I wrote as an introduction to Presbyterian General Assemblies seven years ago. My GA 101 series consists of the following

GA101: Preface
GA101: Introduction – Why in the world would anybody want to do it this way?
GA101: Connectionalism – The Presbyterian Big Picture
GA101: The Cast of Characters – A score card to identify the players
GA101: The Moderator – All Things In Moderation
GA101: Where does the GA business come from? – Incoming!
GA101: Doing the business of GA — Decently and in Order

Yes, what started as a six part series expanded into seven completed articles with two more unfinished ones (still) in the queue.

And finally, on to the ridiculous. Lest we take ourselves too seriously, a couple years ago I had a little fun with the General Assembly and in the post passed along the GA drinking game and GA Bingo. In addition, Allan Edwards has posted an alternate Bingo card to use or modify for your particular polity. Please play responsibly. 😉

So, for all the GA Junkies out there I wish you the best of GA seasons. May you enjoy the next few months of watching us do things decently and in order!

Presbyterian News Headlines For The First Half Of February 2014

Let me begin today with a bit of the follow-up news to the election of the Moderator for the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. First, concerning the successful nominee, the Rev. Dr. Michael Barry:

New Presbyterian Moderator vows to reach out and serve – from Belfast News Letter

Presbyterian moderator says politicians must find way of dealing with past – from The Irish Times

Just a day after his election, new Presbyterian Church Moderator sparks row by telling gay people to stop having sex – from Belfast Telegraph

And the presence of the Rev. Liz Hughes in the final vote, and falling one vote short, has grabbed some significant media attention as well:

Town-born Liz just misses out in historic bid to become Moderator – from Portadown Times

A female Moderator is surely inevitable – from Portadown Times

In Scotland, the Scottish Parliament approved a same-sex marriage bill with corresponding reaction from the various Scottish churches including the Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland:

Scotland becomes seventeenth country to approve same-sex marriages – from Reuters

Same-sex marriage vote prompts church concerns – from Daily Record

Churches denounce law that legalizes same-sex marriage in Scotland – from Ecumenical News

Although individual pastors are speaking out in favour of the legislation:

Cambuslang minister goes against own church’s view on same sex marriage – from Daily Record

Also from Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland confirmed they had settled a lawsuit a few months back related to the death of a visiting Peruvian boy almost eight years ago. The lawsuit was brought by the boy’s parents:

Free Church of Scotland settles with crash boy’s parents – from the BBC

Finally, it was also announced that the jewelry – ring and cross – that are the signs of the office of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, have been replaced after they were stolen with a bag at an airport last year:

New ring and cross for Kirk’s Moderator after originals stolen – from STV News

And in Illinois the long-running story of the fate of a Presbyterian camp on Lake Michigan has apparently been settled. While there was hope of saving the camp, with the vote of the Presbytery of Chicago the land was sold to the developer:

Presbyterian group’s plan to sell Michigan campsite meets opposition – from Chicago Sun-Times (Feb 5)

Church votes to sell Saugatuck campground property to developer for $10M – from The Grand Rapids Press (Feb 10)

Sale of 130-acre Presbyterian Camps completed – from Holland Sentinel (Feb 18)

In Mississippi, a celebration and update on a church damaged by a tornado last year:

Year after tornado, damaged Hattiesburg church holds communion – from the Clarion Ledger

From Africa, we first have an op-ed piece the decries some of the steps pastors are taking, including at least one Presbyterian one, to get around laws so they can accumulate more wealth for them and their churches:

Kenya: The Terrorism of Our Modern-Day Pastors – from allAfrica

There were also comments about the economy from the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and suggestion that spending be cut instead of taxes raised:

Imposition of taxes is not the answer – Presby Moderator – from Graphic Online

While from the island of Trinidad a problem at a Presbyterian school has parents and students protesting:

Rats close Erin Road Presbyterian – from Trinidad Express

Also in this time period we had news that Joan Mondale initially entered hospice and died a few days later. Her service was held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis with music provided by the Macalester College Concert Choir. She was a daughter of the manse and her father, the Rev. John Maxwell Adams, was the chaplain at Macalester for a number of years. One reason that her passing caught my attention is that my father was a student at Macalester at the same time she was and worked closely with Rev. Adams in connection with the chapel services. I believe I had the pleasure of meeting Rev. Adams, probably at the 183rd General Assembly in 1971.

At this point there is a lot of news out there and you may notice a couple of high-profile items missing from this list. I do hope to make time to blog those individually in the next few weeks. In addition, as GA season approaches the news volume will probably be increasing as well. Stay tuned…

166th General Synod Of The Presbyterian Church Of Eastern Australia

My thanks to a regular reader who brought to my attention the 166th General Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia.

  This branch is not one that I regularly track and the Synod meeting did not make it onto my earlier list. It is a small branch but lays claim to being the oldest Presbyterian denomination in Australia. And while it was not a formal branch of the Free Church of Scotland, it did adopt the “Free Church” label and generally paralleled it in belief and practice. It is a continuing church being the descendant of those churches which did not join the state churches leading up to their federation that formed the Presbyterian Church of Australia in 1901. It is also worth noting that in style of worship they follow the Regulative Principle and their singing is in the style of unaccompanied psalmody.

For further information about this Presbyterian branch I refer you to the various pages that are part of the Introducing Ourselves section of the web site. You can also find their polity documents in their Handbook of Practice and Procedure.

The Annual Meeting of the Synod was held 7 to 9 May, 2013, in Wauchope, NSW. For information about the details of the meeting the Minutes are posted and the church’s publication, Presbyterian Banner, has a summary and some pictures in the June issue with a continuation in the July issue. It also includes the sermons given by the outgoing Moderator, Sjirk Bajema, and the new Moderator, Andres Miranda.

I do not see the reports to Synod online so a couple of the items that caught my attention in the summary and minutes are missing context and details. One of these is the ongoing work related to church property. The property of the denomination is held by trustees with a set of trustees appropriate to each state the church is in. Last fall the Parliament of the State of Victoria adopted modifications to the appropriate property act and this Synod approved modifications for the State of New South Wales. The two presbyteries in the state are now given the opportunity to make minor modifications before it is sent on to the civil government for their action.

I would presume that modifications are similar for the two states. In Victoria, the changes made included some minor ones, but one of the more notable changes was the dropping of the word “Free” from the name of the church. What seems to be the most significant change to the act is the granting of more power to the trustees to manage properties and the funds under their control.

The other business item that looks interesting, and I would be very interested in seeing the final product, is a series of brief statements on the topics of yoga, a Christian’s right to protest, homosexual marriage, and abortion. In the published summary it is suggested that they will hopefully be published in the Presbyterian Banner in the near future.

This looks to have been a productive and efficient meeting and a successful one from the prospective of the business of the church as well as the fellowship and encouragement of the servants of the church. Well done and I will try to remember to include the church on my list next year.