2014 General Assembly Preview

“Tell the Story,” taken from Romans 10.17, is the theme of the 34th General Assembly which will take place Wednesday, June 18, through Saturday, June 21, at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN. The Commissioner’s Handbook has been mailed to all commissioners who requested a hard copy. The Handbook can also be downloaded from the EPC website (www.epc.org/2014GA-documents/webcast). The following is a summary of what to expect:

Record numbers again!

As of today, 871 commissioners have registered for the Assembly. In 2013, Cherry Hills hosted 641 commissioners. The 472 registered ruling elders make up 54% of this year’s commissioners. 650 are signed up for the Assembly Workshop on Wednesday. A total of 1500 will attend this year’s annual meeting; by contrast, 1172 attended last year’s GA.

Officers to be Elected

On Thursday morning Nominating Committee chair TE George Garrison (Rivers & Lakes Presbytery) will nominate RE Gordon Miller (Mid-Atlantic) as the Moderator of the 34th General Assembly. Upon his election, Gordon will be installed as Moderator at the Thursday night worship service. TE Mike Moses (Mid-Atlantic) will be introduced Thursday morning as candidate for Moderator-elect. He will be formally nominated and elected on Saturday morning.

New Presbytery

The Assembly will be asked to approve the creation of a new presbytery. Gulf South, the EPC’s 13th presbytery, will be created with the division of Central South Presbytery.

Bart Hess Award

This award, given each year to the church that distinguishes itself for outstanding church revitalization, church planting or outreach ministry, will be given to St. Andrews Kirk-Nassau, Bahamas, where Bryn MacPhail is the pastor.

Receiving of Ministers

The Presbytery of Mid-Atlantic has overtured this year’s Assembly asking for an amendment to the Book of Government that will give a presbytery freedom to examine on content as well as views of a minister transferring from another reformed denomination.

Proposed Book of Worship

Since 2010 the Constitutional Review Committee of TE Howard Shockley, RE Ted Brandsma and TE James Quillin have been working on revisions to the constitutional documents of the EPC. This year’s Assembly will ratify the committee’s revision of the Book of Government, originally approved by the 2013 General Assembly and subsequently by EPC presbyteries. The committee is presenting to this Assembly its proposed revision to the Book of Worship.

Briefly:

  • The Interim Committee on Ministerial Education (Fred Lian, chair) will provide an update on its work.
  • A revision to the Position Paper on Homosexuality will be presented by the Permanent Committee on Theology.
  • The Committee on Administration will make a presentation on possible strategies for the EPC to pursue as it moves from a time of “transfer growth” to “transformation growth.”
  • Twenty-three network luncheons are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.