For a first discussion and vote at General Assembly our overtures did very well. The overture proposing to amend the Book of Order so that Sessions can ordain Ruling Elders for service beyond their congregation such as in a presbytery or a synod received much discussion both in committee and on the GA floor. This overture which opens up who is welcome at the governing tables or higher councils clearly resonated with YADs, clergy spouses who currently cannot serve on many sessions and therefore cannot serve on any mid-council, and those engaging with immigrant fellowships and new worshipping communities. The overture lost by a slim margin and then was referred by an Assembly voice vote to the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA).
1) And now, the number-one thing this Assembly did was to complete the process of adding the Belhar Confession as the twelfth confessional document contained in the Book of Confessions. While this was pretty much a foregone conclusion — since more than three-fourths of the presbyteries have already given their required assent — still, it is of great historic significance. After the positive vote, theologian Allan Boesak of South Africa, one of the authors of the Belhar Confession during the apartheid era, addressed the Assembly. He ended his remarks by saying, “We may not know what tomorrow may bring, but I know this: tonight, we have overcome. I know this: because of Jesus, we shall overcome. I know this: whatever may come in our world, we shall overcome.” In a moving moment, the Assembly responded by spontaneously breaking into song, singing — what else? —“We Shall Overcome.”
The Synod Leadership and Mission teams developed the attached statement concerning the remedial case GAPJC 2014-05 James MacKellar v. Synod of the Northeast. Below please find the statement in English, Spanish and Korean.
Click here for the link to the GAPJC decision in the remedial case of James MacKellar vs. the Synod of the Northeast.