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Moderator responds to special Assembly petition

Jan 16, 2003 02:18 PM EST

LOUISVILLE - Reading from a prepared statement, the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, moderator of the General Assembly, said on Tuesday that it was with a "heavy heart" that he'd received a proposal for a special meeting of the 214th GA (2002).

Abu-Akel read his statement to members of the General Assembly Council (GAC) and the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA).

The moderator had urged commissioners to last summer's Assembly not to join Alex Metherell's petition drive for a special meeting of the Assembly - which would be the first in the history of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Metherell, an elder commissioner to the Assembly from Los Ranchos Presbytery, gave his petition to Abu-Akel during a joint meeting of the GAC's executive committee and COGA.

After reading the statement, Abu-Akel led the group in prayer.

The full text of his statement:

It is with a heavy heart that I received the petition today asking me to call a Special General Assembly.

I have instructed the Office of the General Assembly to begin the process with the stated clerks of the presbyteries to verify the status of those who signed the petition.

I have also asked the Office of the General Assembly to verify the current desire of those commissioners to have a Special Called Assembly in light of the provision of our Constitution, which requires that it be held no sooner than 120 days from today. I reminded all commissioners of this constitutional provision in my letter to them this past November.

I ask all of you to be in prayer for me, for the stated clerk of the General Assembly, for all commissioners to the 214th General Assembly, and for the entire Presbyterian Church (USA) in the days ahead.

By Jerry L. Van Marter