Colorful Celebrations Mark 216th PC(USA) Assembly

( [email protected] ) Jun 28, 2004 05:34 PM EDT

More than 8,000 Presbyterians gathered at the Richmond coliseum in Virginia to observe the opening service of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s 216th General Assembly, on Sunday, June 27, 2004.

Throughout the three-hour-long service, liturgical dancers, musicians and choirs performed colorful pieces, while the moderator of the 215th assembly - Rev. Susan Andrews - preached about the “abundant grace” of God.

“Friends, God does not sprinkle us with grace — God drenches us with grace,” said Andrews.

Elder Rick Ufford-Chase, a 40-year-old border mission worker from the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona, was elected as the new moderator on Saturday night.

During the Assembly, which will last thorugh July 3, attendees will vote on several critical issues concerning the denomination,such as the church’s stance on homosexuality, ordination standards, mission funding and abortion. The members will also vote for a new stated clerk on the last day of the meeting.