Photos: Theological Task Force at the PC(USA) General Assembly

( [email protected] ) Jun 28, 2004 05:21 PM EDT

The opening worship service of the 216th Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly was held yesterday, June 27, in the presence of 8000 members and 25 commissioners’ resolutions were sent to Assembly committees that night by Committee on Bills and Overtures.

Among the 25, there were four resolutions that addressed the issues relating to theology and education.

One of the four resolutions is on “Basic Education” by Committee on International Issues and the other three resolutions that are proposed by Committee on Theological Issues and Institutions include:

1. “Regarding the Presbyterian Church (USA) Developing an Outline Commentary to the Bible,”

2. “Regarding the Presbyterian Church (USA) Call for Presbyterians to Lead a Simpler Life,” and

3. “On Celebrating the ‘Social Creed' of the Churches and Considering a 21st Century Social Creed”

According to PC(USA), the Committee on Theological Issues and Institutions is scheduled to receive the preliminary report of the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church at the assembly. The committee also will consider an overture from the Presbytery of John Calvin that would change parts of the Book of Order to more clearly define the “essential tenets” of the Reformed faith; receive the report of the Trinity Work Group on the proper language for Reformed Christians to use in talking about the Trinity; and study the feasibility of creating a new Presbyterian hymnal.

Meanwhile, TTF viewed the video of a condensed version of a presentation on Christology prepared by Mark Achtemeier, a professor at Dubuque Theological Seminary, during the Pre-Assembly Conference.

Jean S. “Jenny” Stoner, TTF co-moderator, who introduced the video, said the video, presented in three segments, would normally be shown one segment at a time, with an hour allowed after each for small-group discussions. After each of the first two segments, Frances Taylor Gench, a TTF member and a professor at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education (Union-PSCE), led five observers in discussion, modeling a small-group dynamic in which each participant is given an opportunity to ask questions.

Stoner encouraged the crowd of 125 viewers to make use of the new resource.

“This is not a report to be filed, but used as an interactive resource,” she said. “Use it, and use it widely. Join us in striving to discern where God is leading us as the Presbyterian Church (USA).”

The General Assembly, which started on Saturday, June 26, with its Pre-Assembly Conference, will continue until Saturday, July 3.