Statement from the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly:
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is in unprecedented times. Within a few short months, an unknown and unseen virus has ravaged nearly every corner of the planet. Loved ones who were healthy have been struck down. Families have had to grieve without having an opportunity to personally say goodbye.
Our churches are facing difficult times as pastors and staff find new, innovative ways to minister from a distance as the future of their churches remain in question.
For the first time in our denomination’s history, we are preparing for a General Assembly that will be totally online. The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly has had to make some difficult decisions as we looked at numerous options ranging from a full assembly agenda to our final decision to shorten the assembly and to focus solely on critical business issues.
In making these decisions we recognize that these unusual times prevent us from living into the fullness of who we are. Part of the grief COVID-19 has invited into our lives is the inability to be fully ourselves within the parameters of what we can do with what we have in a particular time frame. In other words, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is much more than standing rules, budgets, and elections. As our Stated Clerk recently said, “We are not divorcing ourselves from the work of social justice.” We are about justice. We are advocacy. We are theological and we are prophetic. But in these times of a pandemic, this is the necessary response in considering the health and well-being of the hosting community, commissioners, advisory delegates, observers, and staff.
We ask the church to join us as we step into these uncertain times with the faith and certainty that God will sustain and embolden us into the future.
The 224th General Assembly (2020) will be held over the originally scheduled dates but with fewer hours of plenary sessions (on June 19, June 26 and June 27 only). The recommended docket is still in process, but includes the election of the new Moderator and Vice-Moderator or Co-Moderators on Friday, June 19, opening worship and two plenary sessions on Friday, June 26, and the election of the Stated Clerk, plenary sessions and closing worship on Saturday, June 27. With fewer hours to conduct business it is necessary to prioritize what can be included in those sessions.
To learn more about this year’s General Assembly, please click HERE.