By Skip Noftzger
Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk
Presbytery of Redstone
UPDATES AND REFLECTIONS
The two-year cycle has once more rotated around to that national gathering of our Presbyterian “tribe” that we refer to as the General Assembly. Commissioners who have been elected by their respective presbyteries (both ruling elders and Ministers of Word and Sacrament), are arriving on Friday. Young Adult Advisory Delegates are already in St. Louis and participating in an orientation to the process and what will transpire over the next eight days, as well as having a lot of fun as they prepare. The convention hall is filling up with exhibitors, while staff work diligently in preparation and registration.
With the theme of striving first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, we come together to seek what the Lord may have for us not only as individuals and congregations, but as a collective group (PCUSA). Jesus’ words in this passage from Matthew reassures the hearers that God knows our needs and will provide. Unlike those who worry over the “basics” of life, we are to seek God and God’s provision knowing that worrying about tomorrow signifies our failure to trust in our gracious God.
So, over the next week, together as a community of faith in Jesus Christ, we will wrestle with those questions of how we might seek first the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed and promised. One that may be characterized by what some have called a “kin-dom” being welcomed in together as children of our God regardless of our backgrounds or differences.
There are ample resources available online that provide additional insight into the nature, structure and functioning of the General Assembly Council as the meeting of our national body. For those of you new (and maybe not so new) to being Presbyterian and this whole “GA thing,” I offer you just a few of the available resources:
- Committee and Plenary Business (PC-BIZ)
- Daily News from GA (sign up top right)
- Governance and the General Assembly
For many who have never participated in a General Assembly meeting, there are all sorts of notions about what transpires. Some think it is a massive arena of argument and lobbying. Others think of it as huge family reunion. Some consider it to be a sign of the future gathering of saints in worship. Others picture it as a meeting for all those whose lives may just a little too “wrapped up” in being Presbyterian. In many ways, all of these perspectives are both right and wrong, just as these same assumptions would be when characterized about your congregation, your session or the Presbytery of Redstone. The process of discernment of God’s leading on this scale can be “messy” and cumbersome, but the Lord is in it all.
No doubt, over the next week, the church of Jesus Christ with whom we identify (PCUSA) will be evidenced in all its grandeur and its simplicity, all of its faithfulness and its failings. Yet, in all of those efforts whether successful or not, sincere people like you and me from around the church will be striving for the kingdom of God through our words, through our deliberations, through our actions in policy and practice and through our prayers. So, I would ask that you remember our Redstone commissioners in your prayers over the next week as they discern God’s leading.
Rev. Wendy Keys
Rev. Sue Washburn
“Glimpses of GA”