Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's happening!

Sorry I missed blogging yesterday, but things are starting to happen pretty fast now. Hitting the current highlights:

A new Directory for Worship was approved yesterday. That may not sound like a big deal, but it kind of is.  It's the first revision in 30-some years, and if you've been paying attention (as I know you have) there have been a few changes in our worship life during that time. Some things are universal, but others, well, could use some refreshing. The new Directory is shorter by about 9000 words, yet uses the remaining words more effectively IMHO. So when the new Books of Order come out - which lines are already forming to buy - there will be an entirely new "W" section as well as some changes to at least the G section if not the D section.

We also get a new Book of Confessions this year!  Last night, after a long protracted history (which happens necessarily when any change to the Confessions is proposed), the Assembly voted by a 94%-6% margin to add the Confession of Belhar to our book.  Since the confessions are listed in the book chronologically and not by date of approval, Belhar will not be the last confession in the book. The Brief Statement will retain that place. But in this contentious time of ours, with racism still alive and well, our proclamation of the Confession of Belhar could not be more timely. The assembled body in the hall last night was singing; at least one hotel bar (that I only heard of, you see) was toasting, and it was a wonderful, historical night. The Book does not get changed all htat often; this is the first addition in about 25 years.  So this may be the last confession added that many of us will live to see. If that's true, then it's a darned good one.

There was another moment yesterday that may not have received as much coverage. There was a person who was sexually abused by a pastor, and he was turned away when he tried to report to the presbytery and even to the synod. Last night, Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons issued an apology in front of the entire Assembly to that person. Sometimes we get things right, though it may take us awhile. And as for That Gradye Parsons, giants have walked among us. We are SO going to miss him and his gentle, on target, determined and understatedly hilarious leadership.

This morning the body is currently taking actions on reports from the GA Procedures (Bill Bohart's) committee. And - I would be accused of being less than a proud mom if I didn't mention this - my son Alex was one of the YAADs who led the entire body in an energizer this morning! There is video footage on my Facebook page; I figured you'd appreciate it more there than here.

Mid Councils coming - more soon!

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