About a month ago the Moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Heath Rada, issued a “Call to the Church” to rethink what the PCUSA should look like and in doing so build trust within the church. This started the wheels in motion for a discussion in the denomination about what the identity of the PCUSA is now and what it should be. Specifically he said in his remarks:
It became apparent [within a small task force on mission funding] that we all believed a painful situation existed [in the PCUSA ] and for anything significant to be accomplished we must find ways for that trust to be restored. It was felt that our denomination needed to explore these matters in depth and that I should announce a CALL TO THE CHURCH to help in addressing them.
The statement goes on to list five areas of importance, from the church’s changing place in the wider culture to the theological institutions to the urgent need for action. And with that the statement outlines five steps to take but at multiple points emphasizing the need to involve all levels of the church.
In a follow-up article in the Presbyterian Outlook he updates us on the response he has gotten and what next steps might be. While some are a bit further off – specifically part of the preparation for the 222nd General Assembly – other steps were being implemented quickly. This past week we saw the first of those and that is a survey opened up by Research Services to gather input from the full breadth of the PCUSA . You are encouraged to “Join the Conversation” and you have until November 13 to respond on that survey.
Another step is the announcement of two Twitter chats with the Vice-Moderator of the 221st General Assembly, Larissa Kwong Abazia (@LarissaLKA). The first chat begins this afternoon at 6 PM EDT (3 PM PDT) and will use the hashtag #pcusaidentity. The second chat is on Thursday November 12 at 9 PM EST (7 PM MST).
In reading that follow-up article a few things jump out at me.