GA 223 Preview: Committee 14 – Taking Our Confession to the Next Level … the Here and Now

As we approach the 223rd General Assembly (2018) in St. Louis, the Covenant Network of Presbyterians is sharing some of our hopes for the business before this Assembly. We hope that commissioners, delegates and friends across the church will carefully consider the ways their discussion and votes can make for a more generous and just Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians has long believed that a commitment to inclusion and unity among all peoples is about more than issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Our work for reconciliation and justice only bears full fruit if we are honest about all those the church through its history has excluded by policy or practice from equal opportunity for participation and leadership. For the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the global context in which we exist and serve, this includes people of color.

The Assembly Committee on Theological and Church Growth Issues and Institutions (#14) has responsibility for (among many other importation issues) matters relating to the Book of Confessions. In 2014-15, as the PCUSA considered adding the Confession of Belhar to our Constitution, the Covenant Network was proud to help organize in presbyteries to support an affirmative vote. We believe Belhar speaks a word today as relevant as ever, and one particular action will help its timeless content speak to our current reality.

We strongly support Item 14-01, which begins the process of developing an “accompanying letter” to include with the confession in the printed Book of Confessions. With this pro-active step, the church allows the past to speak to the present. We allow future generations to see our work to combat racism through a profoundly Reformed theological lens. And we strengthen the doctrinal underpinnings on which all our work is grounded for the inclusion of people of color, of women, of people with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations—all people.

Sound Reformed theology is about more than confessions and creeds; it is about practice. As Committee #14 does its important work, we hope it will take this practical step to bring the church’s theology to life.

If you have questions or ideas, let us know. To learn more about Covenant Network activities at this General Assembly, see this link. and for a preview of business in other committees, click here. Finally, we would be grateful if you would consider helping us make our G.A. witness possible with a donation. Thank you!

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