(Office of the General Assembly news release). The General Assembly Way Forward Commission of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has released its process for receiving initial communications and suggestions from any interested PCUSA groups or individuals. The online form is designed to assist the commission in identifying areas for continued discernment about the ministries and structure of the national denomination.
The form is available in English, Korean, and Spanish, although the commission will accept submissions in any language. Recognizing the timeframe and scope of their work, the commission has set February 28 as a deadline for submissions, which are limited to 2,000 words.
Since the body’s first meeting in mid-December at Auburn Seminary in New York, the commission’s working groups have been active in candid conversations throughout the church. This current process for receiving input is an important step in broadening those conversations as the commission develops a vision for the structure and staffing of the national church.
The commission has committed to modeling shared values of humility, openness, and innovation as Reformed and ever-reforming Presbyterians, believing in the power of the Holy Spirit to provide courage to nimbly move in new directions. Regular, two-way communication among commission members and with the church about the commission’s agendas, observations, emerging discernment, and recommendations is being established to ensure transparency and effective communication.
The Way Forward Commission’s moderator, Mark Hostetter, encouraged wide participation in the comment process, and asked that it be done quickly. “Now is the time for Presbyterians, individually or together in groups, to come forward with their best thinking, their most creative dreaming, for how we will engage with each other as a denomination in our changed world,” he said.
Again, the deadline for submission of the comment form to the commission is February 28, 2017.
The Way Forward Commission’s scheduled meetings for 2017 are: March 5–7 at Johnson C. Smith and Columbia Theological seminaries in Atlanta; May 15–17 in Chicago; and September 17–19 at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky. The commission also plans to hold conference call meetings February 7, April 18, and August 9.