The 222nd gathering of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) opened with worship this afternoon. While for many GA222 stared a couple of days ago (especially for staff, vendors, and YAADs), today was the official start.
The moderator of the 221st General Assembly, Dr. Heath Rada, preached a sermon from Genesis 45.1-15, when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers who had sold him into slavery. Moderator Rada called the PC(USA) to a time of reconciliation, acknowledging the deep theological and political divides within our nation that are being reflected in the Church. Thousands of congregations have left and are seeking dismissal from the PC(USA) in recent years as the denomination has shifted more toward traditionally liberal stances on issues like same-sex marriage and LGBTQ ordination.
But, somehow, in the midst of the turmoil, sadness, grief, and even anger, the spirit of this GA still seems upbeat, especially compared to the 220th General Assembly four years ago in Pittsburgh. The spirit of hope and reconciliation continues from when we gathered as a denomination in Detroit, Michigan, two years ago. There we witnessed a city enduring the birth-pangs of healing in the aftermath of the 2008 recession that hit this city especially hard. In some sense, that city gave #GA221 commissioners hope.
We may be a much smaller denomination than we were a few years ago, but the Spirit of God is still moving, nudging, and shaking. Mostly, G.A. is an opportunity to remember that are part of something much bigger than ourselves or our local congregations. May all of us, whether watching live or through the live-stream, experience the presence of God’s Holy Spirit here in Portland and in our lives together.
Stay tuned for more from #GA222. Watch the live-stream of the election of the next moderator/co-moderator at www.pcusa.org/ga222.