Dear Friends of Seattle Presbytery,
We want to share some resources and encourage you as you consider the work of the 221st General Assembly of the PCUSA. It was a blessing to watch our six commissioners, YAAD, and TSAD, in action as they served our church this past week in Detroit. They represented Seattle Presbytery so well.
The assembly itself was calm and respectful throughout even while dealing with issues on which we disagreed. As you are well aware, the decisions that were made brought joy to some and grieving to others across our communities. However it should be noted that the commissioners also sought to find common ground during their deliberations - a truly hopeful sign and a practical expression of the theme verse, Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Emphasis throughout the assembly was on the success of the 1001 Worshiping Communities initiative being undertaken in many presbyteries across the church and to renewed missional efforts abroad. The move toward fostering new Christian communities wherever God is planting them, continues to be breathe new life into churches and presbyteries across the PCUSA. The presbytery staff continue to deepen our connections with this national movement.
Resources for the commissioners’ actions on marriage and divestment are contained among the links provided. Regarding marriage, the key issue going forward is that councils (sessions) and pastors have discretion in discerning who may be married in their churches (building). No session or pastor shall be compelled to act in any way that goes against their conscience. Though that is consistent with our polity as a church, it was reiterated around the issue of same-sex marriage.
I pray that despite the opportunities and the challenges that are ahead of us as a presbytery, we might remember to lift one another up and encourage one another in the ministry of the Gospel; that we might listen with ears to hear how God is speaking through the hurts and pains as well as the joys and triumphs of our friends, congregants, and fellow colleagues in the PCUSA.
The presbytery entrusts to our Seattle Presbytery commissioners the duty of interpreting the actions the 221st General Assembly as we prepare to vote on GA recommendations in 2015. Presbytery staff who also attended (Scott Lumsden, EP; Kevin Nollette, Associate EP, and Eliana Maxim, Associate EP, Kathy Lueckert, Stated Clerk) are available and willing to serve as a resources for interpreting GA actions and presbytery process going forward.
May God bless you and guide you as your serve Christ’s church,
Rev. Scott Lumsden
GA Recap Resources:
- GA recap bulletin inserts (published by Presbyterian Outlook). Download regular size insert. Download large print insert. Korean version. Spanish version.
- Assembly in Brief - 221 General Assembly (2014).
- OGA Pastoral Letter.
- Fellowship Pastoral Letter.
- PC (USA) FAQ: Civil Union & Marriage. Korean version. Spanish version.
- PC (USA) FAQ: Middle East Issues.