In lieu of the prevailing disputes over homosexuality that threaten to divide the Presbyterian Church USA, the moderator to the denomination urged the members to focus on missions as the way to unity.
“Mission is what holds us together, and mission is what will keep us together,” the Moderator Susan Andrews said during a report to the General Assembly Council, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2004.
Andrews recounted her travels around the PCUSA and to mission fields in Africa and Latin America, noting the great visions within each of the enterprises in the 80 countries.
“(They are) an incredible vision of how we’re called to be evangelists and prophets … living out the Biblical mandate that ‘justice roll like a mighty river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” said Andrews.
Vice-moderator Charles Easley agreed, saying that he has learned during his trips around the church and to Africa that “Presbyterians everywhere love this church.”
“(Andrews said) fielded tough questions from our more conservative brothers and sisters, and heard anger, sorrow and frustration of gays and lesbians as they continue to feel excluded from our church,” said Easley.
But she said Presbyterians are also trying to “build partnerships across theological divides around mission.” She cited two divergent congregations in Cincinnati Presbytery that have embarked on “a year of exchange” involving worship, mission and fellowship.
Presbyterians in the United States and abroad are “hopeful and joyful because of the Good News of Jesus Christ they’ve received,” Andrews said.
Andrews noted with joy, the unity held even within the desperately troubled churches of Columbia, who shouted: “We refuse death to have the last word in our church and country — we are a resurrection people!”