In the midst of other GA’s going on the 141st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada is getting under way. The Assembly will run from today ( 4 June ) through Monday 8 June, 2015 on the west coast of The Dominion in Vancouver. The meeting is being held at the University of British Columbia.
A few things to know to help follow along:
- There will live streaming of the Assembly meetings
- The full and final Book of Reports can be downloaded and the daily schedule is found on the 9th page of the packet and a more detailed docket begins on page 16. There is also a good Summary of Reports piece that give a good overview of the meeting.
- Official news updates are available on the news feed
- UPDATE: A daily GA Briefing is being produced. It can be found on the GA 2015 page.
- The General Assembly Resources page is where you will find the important doctrine and governance documents including the Book of Forms and a link to the Acts and Proceedings page.
- UPDATE: Pictures of the Assembly are being posted on the Presbyterian Record Flickr feed.
The Assembly can be followed on social media through the PCConnect Facebook page and through their official Twitter feed @PCConnect.
The hastag for the meeting is #ga141. UPDATE: Friday morning it was announced that the hashtag would be #pccga2015. The official publication, the Presbyterian Record, will probably be posting updates on their Facebook page.
Looking at who is active on Twitter as the meeting approaches I would suggest following John Borthwick (@jborthwik), Fred Stewart (@PastorFred) and Ross Lockhart (@rossalockhart). Always, I will update as I am able once things get into full swing.
Regarding the business of the Assembly, I have already highlighted the flood of overtures (24 of 37) that have been received related to human sexuality and ordination standards. The amount of interest and business was so high that a special process is being proposed for this work. In short, the process proposes that this Assembly begin a process of listening, discussion and prayer throughout the wider church and any definitive action on changing the Report on Human Sexuality or the ordination standards would be brought to a future Assembly. However, an Assembly does not have to take the advice and is free to act as it, in its wisdom, may deem best. So we will see if they make a decision, decide a trajectory or start a discussion.
Another item that will be of interest are changes to the Policy for Dissolution of Pastoral Relationships. This is coming in the Life and Mission Agency report in the Ministry and Church Vocations area beginning on the 279th page of the reports. It is important enough that a supplemental background document is also being distributed. Specifically, there are revisions for accepted practice and clarity regarding the transition payments when a pastor leaves a call. Another item from the Life and Mission Agency from their Justice area includes working to help people with fair lending practices and working against payday loans. This has been a common theme across several Assemblies this year and one I hope to summarize later in the summer.
So there is a brief introduction to this meeting. I would note that the first appearance of the human sexuality business items is set for Friday afternoon and at that point I would expect discussion and possible adoption of the process for dealing with this business.
So prayers and best wishes for the members of the 141st General Assembly and we look forward to looking over your shoulder as you discuss and discern the church’s future on many important issues.
[Programming note: The busiest week in the GA season is next week and I have some family business coming up this weekend so I will undoubtedly fall behind on writing. I will do my best and will probably favour more shorter notes than a few selected long one.]