Matt Bussell, Associate Pastor for Outreach

I was recently in Salt Lake City in my work with the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board preparing for the upcoming General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) which kicks off in just under a month.

We spent a couple days ironing out logistics and figuring out how to provide commissioners with the information they will need to make important decisions about the life of the national church. Still navigating post-COVID realities, this General Assembly will have the committees meet on Zoom June 25-27 before commissioners fly to Salt Lake City to consider the business of the denomination from June 30 through July 4.

Every other year, the General Assembly of the PC(USA) gathers to make decisions about the national church and our life together as a community of faith. Each presbytery elects a group of commissioners to join the work of the national church in electing denominational leadership, deciding on various policies and procedures, approving budgets, tweaking the Book of Order, and addressing issues in the life of the church that impact the whole. Currently, there are over 130 items of business for General Assembly’s consideration, including numerous reports from different denominational agencies and various motions asking for the church to take particular actions. (Curious about the items of business for General Assembly? You can find them all here.)

To help make sense of all these different items, the commissioners are divided into 13 committees which will meet for three days via Zoom to consider items around a shared topic. For example, the Financial Resources committee is tasked with reviewing the overall budget of the denomination and its financial policies. Meanwhile, the Environmental and Climate Justice committee will look at the church’s response to climate change and the Polity committee will consider changes to the Book of Order.

After the Zoom meetings, commissioners from around the nation will travel to Salt Lake City to make final decisions about the various items before the General Assembly. The committees will present the items assigned to them to the entire General Assembly, who will have the opportunity to debate and vote on each item. The General Assembly is an intense event which shapes the life of the church.

I am excited that in my role with the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, I will be participating in the General Assembly. I will have a front row seat as the General Assembly discerns how to adapt our polity for new and innovative forms of ministry amongst our smaller congregations and wrestles with questions about the ordination process and listens to how God is calling to faithfully use our resources and imagines new possibilities for the structure of the national church.

It will be an exciting and busy time, and I look forward to sharing not only the decisions of the General Assembly with you following the meeting, but also sharing how God is working through Presbyterian churches around the country. Please pray for the commissioners who have been called to serve the church in this ministry!