PC(USA) leaders issue post-General Assembly letter to the church

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3

June 25, 2016


Brothers and sisters in Christ, there is a new season in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as witnessed by the actions of the 222nd General Assembly (2016). The body of 594 commissioners who gathered June 18-25 in Portland, Oregon, elected Co-Moderators Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston, and J. Herbert Nelson as the Stated Clerk. Both were historic, and both signal a new way forward for our church.

The business decisions made by the body also were transformative for the 1,572,660 members and 9,642 churches of the PC(USA). The work wasn’t easy, and involved careful deliberations. Collectively, the body acted on nearly 100 overtures by discerning the will of Christ.

Among other things, we now have a new addition to our Book of Confessions – the Confession of Belhar. It is the first of our confessions that comes from the global south. And, the PC(USA) has a new Directory for Worship; and Child/Youth/Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy and Procedures. God is truly guiding us to be more faithful and just to all of God’s creations.

Much discussion has been taking place around the identity and purpose of the denomination, and this week the assembly voted to create a 12-member Way Forward Commission “to study and identify a vision for the structure and function of the General Assembly agencies of the PC(USA),” and a 15-member 2020 Vision Team to “develop a guiding statement for the denomination and make a plan for its implementation.”

To quote Stated Clerk-elect J. Herbert Nelson, “We are not dead ... we are alive, we are reforming and we are transforming this world, one person at a time.”

Looking outward, the assembly voted to engage in selective, phased divestment from fossil-fuel companies through the PC(USA)’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee, and re-affirmed a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine.

Please know this is only a snapshot of the actions taken, and just a glimpse at where God is leading this denomination. Complete business actions can be viewed at www.pc-biz.org.

We are, brothers and sisters, in a new season. It’s exciting, but also a little scary. Yet in the midst of it all, take comfort that God is still guiding and controlling all – and we need not fear. God is calling us to hope, and to God be the glory!

The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly

The Reverend Denise Anderson and the Reverend Jan Edmiston
Co-Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly (2016)

Ruling Elder Tony De La Rosa
Interim Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency


  1. My friend told me the Assembly voted that Christ is not the son of God but a high prophet. Where may I find this information?

    by Mary MacRae

    December 21, 2016

  2. Reading these comments make me realize why I just want to go to church and commune with God. Just thought I would put my toe back in the water to see what PC (government of) had going on. Many things do not change.

    by Harriet E Bynum

    November 15, 2016

  3. What happened to Christians being set apart from the world?

    by Robert Johnson

    July 25, 2016

  4. From the Presbyterian Outlook: Choosing an approach that its supporters described as a “middle way,” the 2016 General Assembly disregarded a committee’s recommendation that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) divest comprehensively from fossil fuel companies – and decided instead to pursue a process of trying to influence energy companies through stockholder engagement. Trying to match this report with paragraph in the above letter.

    by Jon Martin

    June 30, 2016

  5. How sad that the mod deleted my commentary. #NoTransparencyNoTrust

    by Rev G. D. Erickson

    June 28, 2016

  6. Another 'commission' to study the future vision of our PCUSA? I believe a rather large project in this vein was completed and presented in approximately 2009, led by Rev. Dr. Bolsinger. The GA voted it down because part of that plan was to flatten the structure from GA through Synod, eliminating the pork and waste. Naturally, the upper dogs were resistant to giving up their jobs for the sake and longevity of the church. Meanwhile, the GA continues to hack away at Orthodoxy while pandering to political correctness and presbyteries are hemorrhaging healthy churches to ECO. Keep it up and sadly, all you'll need is a one man commission, presenting the final option for the PCUSA, death, without an Easter hope.

    by Rev. G. D. Erickson

    June 28, 2016

  7. Good summary above, but I think a better explanation could have been included than: "engage in selective, phased divestment." I don't think captures what the assembly decided around the fossil fuel issue.

    by Jon Martin

    June 28, 2016

  8. Again with divestment from viable companies engaged in legal activities? Just about all of us drive cars & trucks that rely on gasoline and diesel fuel, and many of us live in homes that use natural gas for a variety of purposes. When will the PC(USA)'s obsession with political correctness come to an end?

    by Rev. Dr. Greg Zurakowski

    June 27, 2016

  9. What a beautiful statement. I'm looking forward to preaching in a local congregation on Sunday, June 26 and sharing this good news as I follow the lectionary passages from 2 Kings, Galatians and Luke about 'inheriting faith' and the faith that we have to share towards the future.

    by Rev. Ted Anderson

    June 25, 2016

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