The 223rd General Assembly gathers this weekend in St. Louis and meets through next week. As a Commissioner from the Presbytery of the Peaks, I head to St. Louis on Friday. We Commissioners are randomly assigned to committees that will meet most afternoons and evenings. Mornings are for the plenary sessions. Friends tell me that being a Commissioner to GA is utterly exhausting—along with being fun, energizing, and inspiring!
Much of the pressing work of the GA this year has to do with administrative reorganization. Injustice in the cash bail system is also on the agenda, including a march by Commissioners to the St. Louis Justice Center on Tuesday. We’ll be delivering money donated at our opening worship service to be used for bail. Click Press Release to read more. There is also an overture to disinvest from fossil fuel companies that may get some press.
We’ll also vote on raising the per capita, a per member fee that congregations forward to the denomination to cover administrative costs. That may turn out to be the most controversial issue. As a pastor who knows how hard church staff work and that the heating bills have to be paid, an increase seems reasonable and necessary to me, but I will listen with an open heart. Listening with an open heart is the main job of Commissioners. As a Church we believe that if all listen and speak as they are led by the Spirit, the best decisions will result.
Already I have been sent pages and pages of information to study on items that will be coming before my committee, which concerns four agencies: the Presbyterian Foundation, the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, the Board of Pensions, and the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. This is not the committee I would have chosen for myself, best, but given that I will be one among many I will trust in the principal that the Spirit is in charge.
This Sunday your closing hymn will be one we Commissioners will be singing in worship, too. Please pray for me and my fellow Commissioners as travel to and from St. Louis and throughout the week.
1 Samuel 15:34-16:13
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17;