Observations on GA 2

It's a mixed bag and a very disturbing one to me in particular. First the sort of good news is that we affirmed a "common faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior." Sure we don't affirm any allegiance to Jesus, just faith.[1]

It sort of reminds me a few GA's ago when we put in our constitution "marriage was a covenant between a man and a woman". It bothers me when we "legislate" the obvious, orthodox and historical truth of the Body of Christ.

At 10 p.m. the death knell for any ongoing contribution of per capita was sounded. O3-21 (text follows):

That the 218th General Assembly (2008) do the following:

1. Provide funds to the Office of General Assembly for the purpose of sharing the cost of legal fees defending our Constitution against the New Wineskins Non-geographic Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and a group which has joined that denomination.

2. From these funds, reimburse the Presbytery of Northern New England for half of all of its remaining legal costs up to a maximum of $185,000.

[3. That the Office of the General Assembly establish and promote an Extra Commitment Opportunity (ECO) account that will be the source of this support and welcomes contributions from the whole church.]

We voted 2 million dollars to be used for litigation when churches wish to withdraw from the PC(USA). What the committee couldn't answer was whether a presbytery had to request the funds or if it would just be divided up. They also couldn't answer the question as to whether these funds would be used in defense of suits brought by congregations or if they could be used to initiate actions against congregations.

I appreciated the delegate from Donegal Presbytery who pointed out how GA had just been told that they couldn't afford 100k to fund a position dealing with abuse within the denomination but we could spend 2 million from per-capita to fight congregations who wish to leave.

Rev. Oldenkamp minister commissioner from Sacramento Presbytery spoke about their church being in court even after negotiating with the presbytery. What he didn't say is that it's because of another congregation in the Sacramento Presbytery.

Even if we weren't an endorsing congregation of the New Wineskins Association I would recommend to my congregation and session NOT to pay per capita because this is a misuse if not abuse of our sisters and brothers in Christ who are being led a different direction. God help us all.


[1] 16-01

“1. affirm as sisters and brother[s] in Christ[,] our common faith in[, and allegiance to,] Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; and

“2. request that[, at his discretion,] the Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) [say before every vote] [when calling for the vote say:] [‘As sisters and brothers in Christ,] [‘Sisters and brothers], sharing our common faith in[, and allegiance to,] Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, [and walking humbly with our God,] let us proceed to vote on the question before us.”


  1. The amendment which was passed (underlined as point 3 in your post) actually moved this from the per capita budget to an ECO or "extra commitment opportunity." That means that it is a voluntary offering that is not funded unless churches send money into it designated to that account. I can't imagine any church sending in extra money to fund lawsuits, particularly in another presbytery. I thought this amendment made the best out of what would have been a disaster.

  2. I hadn't got that point. Thanks for keeping me on track. I hope that is how it plays out.



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