In just a couple of hours the 142nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada will be getting under way. The Assembly will run from today ( 3 June ) through Monday 6 June, 2016. It is being hosted by the Presbytery of East Toronto at the Tait McKenzie Centre of York University.
A few things to know to help follow along:
- There will live streaming of the Assembly meetings
- From the GA 2016 page you can download the full and final Book of Reports. The daily schedule is found on page A-1 (the 5th page) of the packet and a more detailed docket begins on page C-1 (the 11th page in the packet). There is also a good Summary of Reports piece that gives a good overview of the meeting.
- Official news updates are available on the news feed. There may be additional news items from the Presbyterian Record.
- I anticipate there will be daily GA Briefings and probably video recordings of the sederunts posted regularly. The Briefings
will probably beare available on the GA 2016 page and the videos archived on the Live Stream 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.
- And watch for pictures of the Assembly to be posted on the Presbyterian Record Flickr feed.
The theme for the meeting is “stewards of the mysteries of God”, taken from the phrase in 1 Corinthians 4:1.
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 #pccga2016. The official publication, the Presbyterian Record, will probably be posting updates on their Facebook page.
I am still sort of scanning to see if any of my regulars look like they will be active on Twitter for this meeting. Not sure yet, but at this point let me suggest keeping an eye on John Borthwick (@jborthwik), Jeff Loach (@passionatelyhis) (but who may be too busy at the front table) and Ross Lockhart (@rossalockhart). Coming in early with good Presbyterian cynicism are Blair Bertrand (@Bertrand_Blair) and Roland De Vries (@Roland_DeVries). Will update here as things get rolling later today.
For the Presbynerds and polity wonks, one of the items coming to this Assembly from the Committee on Church Doctrine is the paper Presbyterian Polity: Its Distinctives and Directions for the 21st Century. This is a starting point that invites reflection and feedback over the next two years on how the church does its business in a changing world. And I am encouraged that it is tied to doctrine and not a pure polity working group. The committee report begins on the 165th page of the Business packet. The committee will be the first briefing on Saturday morning and the business will come the Assembly on Monday morning.
A closely watched item on both the Church Doctrine docket as well as the Life and Mission report is the ongoing study related to human sexuality. While there are numerous overtures submitted to the Assembly this year reflecting a range of new actions and theological positions, both committees will recommend that any action be deferred until the 143rd General Assembly next year when the human sexuality report, reflecting the denomination’s two-year conversation, will be presented to the Assembly.
One other item I will highlight, among several interesting ones, is that the previous Assembly approved legislation that would permit a synod to dissolve. This year the Clerks of Assembly will be bringing a recommended process to be added as an Appendix to the Book of Forms to make that happen. It can be found starting on the 204th page of the Business packet.
So prayers and best wishes for the members of the 142nd General Assembly and as you address issues so important to the future witness of the church my you indeed by guided by the Holy Spirit.