Registration Information for the 2003 General Assembly
October 7, 2003, NEW YORK CITY -- Jackson, Miss., will host the National Council of Churches USA’s Nov. 4-6, 2003, annual General Assembly. Many special guests will join delegates from the NCC’s 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member churches, which, in turn, comprise 50 million adherents in 140,000 local congregations nationwide.
The 280-member General Assembly is the highest legislative body of the nation’s leading ecumenical body, through which U.S. churches work to address people’s spiritual and social needs. This meeting marks the end of one four-year program cycle and the beginning of the next.
Here are just a few 2003 General Assembly highlights:
Installation of Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr., Christian Methodist Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi and Louisiana, as National Council of Churches President for 2004-2005. Service at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at Anderson United Methodist Church also will include installation of other NCC officers. Dr. Hoyt, 62, is widely recognized as a theologian, preacher, pastor and Bible scholar. The Assembly also will elect new leaders for 2004-2007 and thank those completing their service - especially Elenie K. Huszagh, NCC President in 2002-2003.
Actions on social issues, including proposals that the NCC join national boycotts of Taco Bell and Mt. Olive Pickle companies. These votes would be especially significant given the NCC’s insistence that boycotts are a measure of last resort. It has been more than 15 years since the NCC endorsed a boycott (May 1988, related to Royal Dutch/Shell's connections at that time to apartheid South Africa). Other proposed actions concern prescription drug costs, several international issues and next steps in the churches’ consideration together of issues posed by human genetic technologies.
An emphasis on children, reflected in actions on public education and on advocacy for children’s needs, the participation of the Piney Woods School Choir, a letter-writing campaign on behalf of children, and a giant pew so adults can experience how children feel at worship.
A look at the role of youth and young adults in the ecumenical movement, through a pre-Assembly event Nov. 3; young adult caucus breakfast Nov. 6, and participation of 10 young adult stewards from across the United States who will serve in the background as they observe up close the deliberative work of ecumenism.
A multimedia meeting engaging multiple dimensions of perception and interaction - spatial, intrapersonal, interpersonal, kinesthetic, musical, mathematical and linguistic. Speeches and discussions will be interwoven with a civil rights tour, worship and Bible study, time for silent reflection, and - at delegates’ tables - modeling clay and chenille stems for spontaneous sculptures. A resident potter - Ky Johnston, who teaches at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. -- will reflect the Assembly’s theme "In the Potter’s Hands." Also expect dozens of colorful banners, a bookstore and an exhibit hall.