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“The apostles and elders, together with the whole church, decided to choose some of their number and send them to Antioch…”
- Acts 15:22

Since the beginning of the church, the faithful have sent representatives to meet and discuss matters before the church, to offer aide and support to each other, to teach and decide matters of doctrine, and to show unity and fellowship. The church first met in one of these councils or general assemblies in Jerusalem in Paul and Peter’s day and it was both glorious and controversial. They met to discuss whether one needed to be an observant Jew in order to be a Christian. There was debate and controversy, theology and politics and afterwards the messages went to the congregations starting at Antioch for their hearing and living it out. The church continued to meet in assembly, sending representatives from local congregations, regional governing bodies, and the wider church throughout history (We still repeat creeds from the Council of Nicea for example).

Our current national church does the same. We gather every two years to pray and worship, discuss matters of doctrine and polity, engage in dialogue with the Spirit and each other in matters of mission, witness, and doctrine whether controversial or not, and to BE the church gathered from all places. The 223rd such meeting of the Presbyterian Church will be later this month in St. Louis, Missouri. Each Presbytery sends at least two representatives called commissioners (an elder and a pastor). This year Pastor Tim will be one of them from Prospect Hill (the other is Elder Bill Crawford from Glidden). This year does not seem like it will be as controversial as some previous GA’s, but there are plenty of issues. More importantly, the GA will worship, share fellowship, actually engage in hands-on mission in St. Louis, and will hear again the Word made present in our church today. You can follow individual ideas or look at the business at PC-Biz (https://www.pcbiz.org) or live stream any of the plenary sessions and worship at https://ga-pcusa.org/.

This meeting is, according to the Book of Order G-3.0501, about the bond of union and common mission of all congregations, presbyteries, synods, in fact the whole church as it becomes a community of faith, hope, love, and witness. Pray for the GA and all the commissioners that they might listen to and receive the Spirit, looking after doctrine, missions, polity, and our common covenant life together. Think about how you are the church as well—again a community free in love but ACCOUNTABLE to Jesus and each other in the Spirit. And pray for the whole church too, that congregations, elders, pastors, members, deacons, agencies and the like might stop, discern, come together, and work in Christ’s calling instead of the
divide that seems to have descended on our church and nation recently. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus.

- Pastor Tim

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