The General Assembly in Portland is moving along!


On Saturday evening we elected Co-Moderators of the General Assembly. This is the first time that we as a denomination have ever elected Co-Moderators. Usually there are Moderators who choose Vice-Moderators, much like our nation elects a President who has a running mate. This was also the first time that two women stood for the office.


Also, this was an historic election in that it was also the first time that an African-American woman has been elected to this position. It was clear to the me and the assembly that these two women were the right choice for our denomination at this time.


You can read more about the Co-Moderators at:
https://pres-outlook.org/2016/06/first-co-moderators-elected-anderstonedmiston-elected-first-ballot/

The Co-Moderators moderate the rest of this assembly, but then also spend the next two years traveling around the country (and the world) meeting with Presbyterians and all our partners. They are the "face" of our denomination until the next General Assembly which meets in St. Louis in 2018 elects their replacement(s).



Also, this was an historic election in that it was also the first time that an African-American woman has been elected to this position. It was clear to the me and the assembly that these two women were the right choice for our denomination at this time.


On Sunday morning I worshipped at First Presbyterian Church in Portland, which is walking distance from my hotel. You can see in the photo attached how beautiful is the sanctuary made up of Douglas Fir and cherry woods and a great pipe organ. Craig Barnes, the President of Princeton Theological Seminary is shown preaching. The church hosted the General Assembly in 1892, that is when they added the cherry wood balcony.

After lunch a small group of us visited Powell's bookstore, which is a haven for book lovers. (see photo below) It is so big they give you a map, and have the building divided up into many different rooms. We went to the rare books room where I saw a first edition of the Grapes of Wrath for $250. I didn't buy it!

Our last plenary meeting until Wednesday was Sunday afternoon, where we heard a report from the Stated Clerk Nominating Committee. The Stated Clerk is elected on Friday and he/she will run the Office of the General Assembly in Louisville for a four-year term.


Last night all the committees began to meet. I am Committee 02 Bills & Overtures. We are responsible for making sure the General Assembly business runs smoothly. We set the docket for the plenary sessions that resume on Wed. We handled 12 Commissioner Resolutions. We sent 10 of them to the appropriate committees (there are 14 committees). We voted to NOT send two resolutions because they were either duplications of other business already submitted or because they were not appropriate for the GA to decide.


Committees will meet all day today. As part of my duties on Committee 02 I am observing Committee 06 Church Polity, which again shows what a nerd I am. Other committees such as Middle East Issues, Environment, or The Way Forward deal with more hot button issues such as a report on the Israel / Palestinian conflict that some feel is too "anti-Israel," divestment from fossil-fuel companies, or a host of overtures from Foothills Presbytery that wish to change the way we operate as a denomination, especially our engagement in social justice issues.


Thank you for your prayerful support. Continue to love and care for one another. "So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of the faith." Gal 6:10 NRSV