Our denomination, the PCA, gets together every year for our big meeting. We debate parliamentary procedure. We produce and vote up or vote down overtures. We make protests to decisions by the moderator. We talk about things that feel pretty far removed from the daily operations and concerns of our churches and our people.
And yet it’s still important. It still matters. We can be too cynical (at least I can).
At these yearly meetings we also:See old friends and make new ones; Pray together and fellowship with each other; Listen and learn.
I’ve returned from the 2016 very encouraged. I loved hanging out and discussing both trivial and important topics. I loved watching OSU baseball with my pastor friends who live in Stillwater. I loved getting an hour or so with my Korean brothers. I loved praying at the African American Reformed Fellowship lunch. I loved hearing Duke Kwon preach and Heal Us sung. I loved gathering the authors of Heal Us, Emmanuel together. I loved worshiping with brothers and sisters. I loved getting the chance to sit with a few friends who haven’t been doing well, so I could hear their stories in person instead of on the phone. I even loved the12-hour drive back because I was able to listen to these free lectures on the American Civll War.
I’m tired, but looking for great things. I’m worn out, but ready to go. We’re headed in the right direction.
Here is the overture we passed regarding racial reconciliation. Let’s do it!
Therefore be it resolved, that the 44th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America does recognize, confess, condemn and repent of corporate and historical sins, including those committed during the Civil Rights era, and continuing racial sins of ourselves and our fathers such as the segregation of worshipers by race; the exclusion of persons from Church membership on the basis of race; the exclusion of churches, or elders, from membership in the Presbyteries on the basis of race; the teaching that the Bible sanctions racial segregation and discourages inter-racial marriage; the participation in and defense of white supremacist organizations; and the failure to live out the gospel imperative that “love does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10); and
Be it further resolved, that this General Assembly does recognize, confess, condemn and repent of past failures to love brothers and sisters from minority cultures in accordance with what the Gospel requires, as well as failures to lovingly confront our brothers and sisters concerning racial sins and personal bigotry, and failing to “learn to do good, seek justice and correct oppression (Isaiah 1:17);” and
Be it further resolved, that this General Assembly praises and recommits itself to the gospel task of racial reconciliation, diligently seeking effective courses of action to further that goal, with humility, sincerity and zeal, for the glory of God and the furtherance of the Gospel; and
Be it further resolved, that the General Assembly urges the congregations and presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church in America to make this resolution known to their members in order that they may prayerfully confess their own racial sins as led by the Spirit and strive towards racial reconciliation for the advancement of the gospel, the love of Christ, and the glory of God.
Be it further resolved, that the 44th General Assembly call the attention of churches and presbyteries to the pastoral letter contained in Overture 55 as an example of how a presbytery might provide shepherding leadership for its churches toward racial reconciliation; and
Be it finally resolved, that the 44th General Assembly remind the churches and presbyteries of the PCA that BCO 31-2 and 38-1 provide potent and readily available means for dealing with ones who have sinned or continue to sin in these areas.