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General Assembly

Decisions concerning: Christian Churches Together | Committee on Ecumenical Relations |

| Common interfaith efforts | Globalization | Interfaith observers | Interfaith policy | Middle East |

| Social Creed | World Alliance of Reformed Churches | World Council of Churches |

The 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) met on June 16-22, 2006, in Birmingham, Alabama. A number of its actions relate to ecumenical and interfaith relations. Proposals to and actions of the General Assembly can be accessed through the computer system known as “Les,” to which links are provided here. Minutes of the Assembly are available for downloading.

Decided: Invite interfaith observers to General Assemblies

jewish leaders at 217ga 
The Assembly voted to amend G.A. standing rules to provide for three
 observers of other faiths or religious traditions at future General Assemblies,
 to be chosen by recognized religious bodies of non-Christian religious
 traditions at the invitation of the permanent G.A. Committee on Ecumenical
 Relations. [See (3) General Assembly Procedures, 03-21.]

Decided: Affirm PC(USA) interfaith policy

The Assembly affirmed existing policy on interfaith matters “as substantially adequate for the engagement of congregations and individual Presbyterians in interfaith relations.” It requested that the Committee on Ecumenical Relations “continue to assess and advise the Interfaith Relations Office on the adequacy of interfaith policy” and that the office develop plans to address particular interfaith issues, building on existing policy.” [See (07) Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, 07-07.]

Decided: Promote common efforts of Christians, Muslims, and Jews

The Assembly voted to “affirm the current mandate of the Office of Interfaith Relations to promote the common effort of Christians, Muslims, and Jews to work together for peace, justice, and righteousness.” This action grew out of an overture from Newton Presbytery. During debate on the floor of the Assembly, commissioners heard the view that the three faiths are distinct, though interrelated. [See (07) Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, 07-01.] 

Decided: Become a provisional participant in Christian Churches Together

The Assembly voted that the PC(USA) become a “provisional participant” in CCT for the next four years and actively support its agenda. [See Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, 07- 05.]

Decided: Affirm World Council of Churches leadership

At the initiative of the PC(USA) delegation to the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, the General Assembly voted to:

  • receive Called to Be One Church and affirm the integrity of the baptism of all WCC member churches
  • affirm solidarity with the global church as expressed through the WCC commitments to overcoming violence, economic justice, and dialogue/cooperation with people of other faiths
  • express gratitude for WCC pioneering in consensus decision making and willingness as the PC(USA) to learn from this model
  • make the prayer in the WCC Assembly message our own and commend it for congregational worship. [See (07) Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, 07-04.]

Decided: Study and act on economic globalization issues

committee work-ga217
The Assembly voted to receive the WARC paper, Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth (known as the Accra Confession), and the WCC document, Alternative Globalization Addressing Peoples and Earth (known as AGAPE) “as a way to help Presbyterians see how others see us and how we may participate in common works of justice and compassion.” [See (09) Social Justice Issues, 09-10.]
At the initiative of the PC(USA) delegation to the 24th General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Assembly also voted to:

Decided: Affirm World Alliance of Reformed Churches 24th General Council actions

The Assembly voted to affirm WARC actions on gender and age equality and on support of HIV/AIDS work in Africa. [See (007) Ecumenical and Interfaith, 07-06.]

Elected: Persons for the G.A. Committee on Ecumenical Relations (GACER)

Three members of the permanent G.A. Committee on Ecumenical Relations were elected to new terms: the Rev. Lemuel Garcia and David Jensen (both of Mission Presbytery) and Kathleen Owens (Cascades Presbytery). And three persons were elected to new service on the committee: the Rev. Krystin Granberg (New York City Presbytery), Damayanthi Niles (Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery), and the Rev. Oommen K. Thomas (Western Reserve Presbytery). [See (00) Plenary, 00-01-H CER.]

Report: Study and update of the1908 Social Creed

les at 217ga 2

An interim report was received concerning the 2004 General Assembly’s
 call for study of the Social Creed adopted at the founding meeting of the
 Federal Council of Churches in 1908 and celebration of its centennial in 2008.
[See (09) Social Justice Issues, 09-07.]


Reports: Ecumenical bodies

Reports from both the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches were sent to the Assembly. [See (07) Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, 07- Info for the NCC and WCC reports.]

Report: the G.A. Committee on Ecumenical Relations

The Committee on Ecumenical Relations, a permanent committee of the General Assembly, submitted its report to the Assembly. The twenty-member committee plans and coordinates ecumenical relations and provides guidance for relations with persons outside the Christian religious tradition.

MORE on General Assembly actions related to the Middle East on the following page

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