The 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was one of the most positive church experiences I’ve had in a long time. There were moments of disappointment and frustration, as always, but I sit several days after closing worship with a sense of hope and deep gratitude for the people and the work of the PC(USA). I also sit ready to get back to work (after a brief rest, which I hope you all are taking as well), because we as PPF have a special role after this GA that could have just changed the way our denomination engages with peace and nonviolence.
PPF has published these brief documents that lift up key issues and analysis of overtures before the General Assembly that pertain to peacemaking and nonviolence. Please share these documents widely with commissioners and others at General Assembly. Commissioners and others can also follow #PPFGA on social media for updates.
Ashley Bair is an MDiv student at Princeton Theological Seminary. She participated in the PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer Program before attending seminary, and was one of nine delegates to go to Iraqi Kurdistan in May 2016 with PPF and CPT.
In a world that is fraught with conflict and derision, how can the church be a global witness to the peace of Christ? While observing Committee 12, Peacemaking and International Affairs, I saw commissioners, advisory delegates, and advocates grapple with this central question as it pertained to contemporary issues. From Korea to the Congo, the committee passed overtures that call upon church, corporate, and government bodies to support the dignity and welfare for all involved in conflict regions. Committee 12 also passed two PPF-supported Commissioner's Resolutions that uphold the principles and ministry of Sanctuary, a movement to advocate for the rights of international refugees (12-12 and 12-13).
In our judgment, Presbyterians largely agree that climate change is real. Most of us believe that that this crisis poses a huge threat in communities that are at risk across our country and around the world. Further, there is broad consensus among Presbyterians that the scientific consensus is correct that this threat will grow exponentially over the years to come. We saw very little debate about these basic facts as Committee 9 deliberated this week.