Greetings from Portland, Oregon

Greetings from Portland, Oregon, and the 222nd meeting of our PCUSA General Assembly. Elected commissioners, presbytery leaders, and folks from all around the country (and the world) are meeting in the Oregon Convention Center for a week of worship, mission updates, committee meetings, and plenary sessions.

Our General Assembly meets every other June and the location moves around the country. Each presbytery is represented by an equal number of Teaching and Ruling Elders, with the number of pairs based on the membership of the presbytery. Last fall, Shenango elected Ruling Elder Don Christy, from our Faith church in Hermitage, and Teaching Elder Don Stanley, pastor of our Jamestown church, both pictured here:

RE Don Christy, TE Don Stanley
RE Don Christy (Faith), TE Don Stanley (Jamestown)

By virtue of their election as comissioners, both Dons have voice and vote in all matters brought before the assembly in committees and in plenary sessions. In the words of our Book of Order, they are tasked with “discerning the mind of Christ” on matters brought from presbyteries around the country to this our largest council.

Also elected by Shenango last fall are two Advisory Delegates. Calvin Gealy is a high-school aged member of our New Wilmington church and is Shenango’s Young Adult Advisory Delegate. Evan Wildhack is a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and in Inquirer for ordination under the care of our presbytery. Evan is serving as a Theological Student Advisory Delegate. These young men have voice in all business before the assembly, vote in committee meetings, and collectively they are able to offer an advisory opinion prior each vote taken in the large plenary sessions. Both are pictured here:

YAAD Calvin Gealy (New Wilmington), TSAD Evan Wildhack (Pittsburgh Seminary)
YAAD Calvin Gealy (New Wilmington), TSAD Evan Wildhack (Pittsburgh Seminary)

On Saturday, the Assembly elected co-moderators who — just like our presbytery moderator — will run the plenary meetings this week and then represent the wider church throughout the next two years. Read more about their election here. On Sunday afternoon, the Assembly heard the report of the Stated Clerk Nominating Committee, reported here. The Stated Clerk serves for four years and functions as a parlimentarian, record keeper, and spokesperson for the General Assembly.

Monday marks the first full day of Assembly business, with commissioners broken up into various committees to manage the matters brought to the assembly from the presbyteries. Our commissioners have the following committee assignements:

Don Christy: Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
Don Stanley: Immigration and Environmental Concerns
Calvin Gealy: Middle East Issues
Evan Wildhack: Way Forward, which will deal with a number of issues related to the denomination’s deployment and structure going forward

Please keep our commissioners, and all commissioners, in your prayers this week. More updates to follow.

Ralph Hawkins
Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk

Published by Ralph W. Hawkins

Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk, Presbytery of Shenango

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