General Assembly Information

A Note from Pastor Randy:

I want to thank those of you who attended our Open-forum on same-gender marriage. We were honored to have Jeff Hutcheson, from our Presbytery, moderate the meeting, share how the General Assembly (GA) works, and attest to the permeating presence of prayer and worship throughout all proceedings at GA.

            There is more than one controversial issue on the table as a result of GA, but the purpose of this recent session-directed forum was to help clarify the Authoritative Interpretation (AI) and the proposed amendment on same-gender marriage. The AI can be found in its entirety on this linked document titled “Frequently Asked Questions.”

            I found the article “Holy Forbearance: Faithful Witness in Times of Disagreement” by James Calvin Davis to be helpful and instructive for all of us (Outlook, July 21, 2014).  Please take time to read the following excerpts and comments:

            Davis opens the article by observing, “Conflict is not all there is to being church, but more and more I fear it is what we are known for.” I appreciate that the author neither side steps our call to faithfulness, nor pretends we won’t ever have conflict in our homes, church, or life. He goes on to say (with a little paraphrasing on my part) that:

            “Presbyterians know as well as anyone that conflict is part of the Christian DNA. Yet in Ephesian 4: 1-3 it tells us our calling is to live a life of humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love (forbearance); making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Davis highlights the word “forbearance”, used in the King James Version of this passage.

            He argues that “even in our most disagreeable moments, we are caught up in a unity not of our making, a unity that derives from the One who joins us together. . . we Presbyterians struggle mightily with differing interpretations of the faith, but may (I would even say must) we never forget that we are still family to one another - bound together as children of God . . . Practicing forbearance will be hard and uncertain work, but it is holy work, and it is work we can only do together. If we choose to take up the call, of this much I am sure: for a world where hostility is epidemic, bearing with one another faithfully can be a life-saving witness to the reign of God.”

            As we continue to explore our faith as well as how this AI and amendment affect our church, please continue to pray and be open to the leading of the Spirit regarding this subject. I would also direct you to another helpful document linked here titled “Seeking to be Faithful Together: Guidelines for Presbyterians During Times of Disagreement.”

            As I have mentioned numerous times, I will be leading a class from September 7th to October 26th called, “Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today.” We will explore the nature of Scripture and some of the challenging issues it contains, including homosexuality.  I encourage you to attend.