General Assembly 2008

PPF's GA Summary

PC(USA) takes strong action for peace.

As divisions around issues of sexuality continue to dominate conversations in the wake of the 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA), our church has demonstrated remarkable unity in its collective call to peacemaking. In fact, on many issues there was such consensus among commissioners that little or no discussion was offered in plenary sessions. We want to highlight the many ways our denomination adopted policies that will strengthen its larger witness for peacemaking in our broken world.

Urge Congress: Talk, Not War, with Iran

From the PC(USA) Washington Office

Contact Your Representative

The dangerous climate created by the current tensions between the United States and Iran could lead to war. Both governments need to commit to diplomatic talks to ease the tensions and reduce the likelihood of armed conflict.

Assembly calls for peacemaking in Israel/Palestine

Photo of a large room with rows of people seated at tables. Speakers stand on a stage in front of a large screen at the front of the room.
The Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues reported on Latin American issues on Friday afternoon. Photo by Joseph Williams

SAN JOSE, June 27, 2008 — Commissioners to the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) “stayed the course” of being peacemakers around the world. The Assembly called for “responsibly” bringing the troops home from Iraq, continuing peacemaking in Israel and Palestine and supporting human rights in Zimbabwe, the Philippines, North Korea and Colombia.

Issues concerning peace, as it relates to the Middle East and other crisis areas of the world, took the majority of the committee’s time during deliberations earlier this week. Their mindful discernment helped the full General Assembly to move business quickly and collaboratively. As a result, the full assembly quickly passed overtures that affirmed immediate food aid to North Korea, civil rights accompaniment to citizens of Colombia and a careful approach to peacemaking in Israel and Palestine.

Philippine church leaders face death for advocating change

Photo: Eliezer M. Pascua
Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua, general secretary of the United Church of Christ in Philippines. Photo by Danny Bolin

SAN JOSE, June 27, 2008 — Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua leads a church that lives at the intersection of uncertainty and faith.

Pascua, general secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), has seen 26 pastors and lay leaders killed over the past five years for the stands they have taken.

Church leaders who continue to speak out for the nation’s marginalized do so not knowing how the military and government might react. Imprisonment or death could very well be the result.

Nevertheless, the UCCP holds fast to its conviction that faithfulness requires the church to be advocates for people who are disenfranchised. “As one of the largest mainline denominations, we believe an integral part of our mission and ministry is to get involved in the struggles and hopes of the people,” said Pascua, an ecumenical delegate to the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “The whole UCCP carries this conviction.”

Assembly approves new social creed, the first in a century

by Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

SAN JOSE, June 27, 2008 — By a 5-to-1 margin, the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Friday approved “A Social Creed for the 21st Century,” exactly 100 years after the “Social Creed” of 1908 spoke to the harshness of industrial life at the turn of the last century.

GA passes several strong actions for peace

The 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA) has taken action on several recommendations from the committee on Peacemaking and International Issues, concerning the Philippines, Colombia, Conscientious Objectors, and Israel/Palestine:

Power of nonviolence lies in action, speaker says

Photo of a man at a podium speaking into a microphone
Mubarak Awad, director of Nonviolence International and co-founder of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence. Photo by Joseph Williams

SAN JOSE, June 25, 2008 — As the familiar strains of standard hymns drifted through the dividing walls at the Fairmont Hotel here, some 300 Presbyterians were called by Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian nonviolence expert, to take down the walls and fences built by human hands. Awad addressed the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) Breakfast, replacing the originally scheduled speaker, Jonathan Kuttab, a lay preacher and human rights attorney, who was unable to attend. The breakfast was held in conjunction with the meeting of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 

‘I am a Palestinian. I have no bombs.’ — Archbishop Chacour

by Eva Stimson
Presbyterian News Service

SAN JOSE, June 25, 2008 — Archbishop Elias Chacour calls himself “a walking contradiction.”

‘I wanted it demolished on all our heads’

by Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

SAN JOSE, June 25, 2008 — Elias Chacour, Archbishop of Galilee for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, points to the Northern Israel city of Haifa as an important role model where Jews, Christians and Muslims can exist together — but not necessarily coexist.

Peacemaking actions provide diverse witness

SAN JOSE, June 24, 2008 — The members of the Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues repeatedly sought and affirmed information and overtures from many different voices regarding the difficult subjects of Israel and Palestine, and the work of the Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee during Tuesday’s business, which ran late into the night.

The overtures approved for General Assembly consideration by the committee are complicated and contradictory.

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