Dear Church Family,
The 49th General Assembly of our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, meets this week in Birmingham, AL. As the highest church court in our denomination, the purpose of the General Assembly is to conduct the business of the church which affects all of our presbyteries and churches, as well as our various denominational ministries (e.g., Covenant College, Covenant Seminary, Mission to the World (MTW, our missionary sending arm), Mission to North America (MNA, our church-planting arm), etc.).
With all that is going on, in such a short amount of time, the schedule is very demanding and can be confusing – especially for first-time commissioners (commissioners are teaching elders and ruling elders from across our denomination). As I mentioned on Sunday, I won’t be attending the General Assembly this year; however, I will be watching the live-stream – especially during some key events.
If you’re interested in learning more about the important annual work of our denomination, I’ve listed below several links that may be of interested, followed by my recommendations for some of the things that may be of interest for you to observe.
2022 PCA General Assembly Links
(Note: Birmingham is in our same time zone (CST) so no need to adjust when looking at the schedule)
PCA General Assembly Main Page
– this is the one-stop source for everything you need to know about the General Assembly, but since there is so much information, I’ll list below some of the specific links that may be of interest.
– the live stream will not be active until the official business of the General Assembly begins at the first worship service on Tuesday night (this link is also available on the main page).
– this is a list of the overtures sent up to the General Assembly by individuals, church sessions, or presbyteries, calling for the General Assembly to take a certain action or make a decision of some kind. An overtures committee will sort through these early in the week before General Assembly and then present amended versions of these overtures to the General Assembly on Thursday.
Recommended Key Events to Watch
(Here are my personal recommendations of things that might be of interest the General Assembly)
Worship – there are three worship services scheduled during the General Assembly (you may find the bios of the preachers by clicking on their names on the main page).
– Tuesday, June 21st (6:30 pm) – Preacher: Roy Taylor
– Wednesday, June 22nd (4:45 pm) – Preacher: Elbert McGowan, Jr.
– Thursday, June 23rd (7:30 pm) – Preacher: Kevin DeYoung
– There will be many smaller seminars (https://pcaga.org/2022-seminars/
) which commissioners may attend; however, there will be one Assembly-wide seminar which I believe will be live-streamed and worth watching.
– Wednesday, June 22nd (8:00 am) – Assembly-Wide Seminar – The Future Glory of the Church: The PCA We Envision for Christ’s Purposes (Ruling Elder Perspectives)
Business – while all of the business conducted at General Assembly is important, there are two particular items that may be of special interest.
– Wednesday, June 22nd (10:15 am) – Review of Presbytery Records Committee Report. Presbyteries must submit their records and meeting minutes to the General Assembly for review and this is the committee that does this work. It may seem mundane and inconsequential, but often-times this is where important issues of theology and practice arise.
– Thursday, June 23rd (10:45 am) – Overtures Committee Report. If there was a “main event” of the business of General Assembly, this would be it. Important matters of theology and church life are debated and voted upon during this report (this committee report, which begins on Thursday morning, often extends late into the evening and sometimes past midnight).
I believe that the live-stream recordings will be archived and able to be viewed not long after the event has concluded. I know that there is a lot here and that most will not have the time to watch all of the live-stream events that I recommend above. So, at a minimum, I encourage you to check out at least two things this week on the live-stream of General Assembly if you can.
(1) Watch at least one of the worship services (personally, I’m looking forward to hearing Kevin DeYoung preach on Thursday evening).
(2) Pop in, or check out the archived video, of at least a portion of the Overtures Committee Report which is scheduled to begin on Thursday at 10:45 am. That will at least give you a taste of the kind of discussion and debate that takes place at General Assembly.
Finally, please pray for the work of our General Assembly, that the Lord would guide and bless our church in all the important activities, discussions, and decisions which take place this week.
The Lord be with you!
– Pastor Peter M. Dietsch