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In Spirit and Truth

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About this blog

In Spirit and Truth seeks to encourage discussion and deeper consideration of representation issues in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is hoped entries will prompt reflection and dialogue on aspects of expanding representation and supporting full participation in the PCUSA, especially at the assembly and mid council levels.  

This blog will occasionally feature content written by one of the fourteen members of the General Assembly Committee on Representation, who are church members, ministers (teaching elders) and ruling elders from across the country, as well as links and articles of particular interest. The ministries of advising, consulting, advocating, promoting inclusion, reviewing and recommending actions are vital to the life of the whole Body of Christ. Committees on Representation and/or their functions exists at all councils above session so from time to time we may highlight activities and insights from sister committees on representation at lower councils throughout the church.  

Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. or the General Assembly Committee on Representation.
Author/Facilitator Molly Casteel is an Assistant Stated Clerk and the Manager for Equity and Representation in the Office of the General Assembly.  She is a teaching elder (a.k.a. Minister of Word and Sacrament) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.

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August 14, 2012

Called to Serve?

Are you, or someone you know, called to service at the national level of the church in a special committee?

Do you know someone who is called and might be interested in serving in one of these committees/task forces?  Persons currently serving on a GA entity (board, permanent committee, special committee, etc.) are not eligible, nor are persons employed by GA entities (BOP, OGA, PILP, FDN, PPC, and PMA).

For more information, contact

National Racial Ethnic Ministries Task Force is charged exclusively to review, assess, and explore the call to, responsibility in, and vision for racial ethnic ministry within the PC(USA), reporting its findings for implementation to the 221st General Assembly (2014) as well as charged specifically to address the issue and the lack of language access, sensitivity, and resourcing (particularly as relates to the Spanish and Korean languages) within the existing frame of council operation, as well as within the context of any councils. The Moderator will appoint this 7-person task force which will, per the General Assembly’s action, be comprised of representatives from
· racial ethnic church leadership;
· racial ethnic caucus leadership;
· the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC);
· presbytery leadership;
· the General Assembly Committee on Representation (GACOR);
· a representative from Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries.
The application for this Special Task Force is due Tuesday, August 21, 2012.

Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar: The GA voted to begin the process of amending The Book of Confessions to include the Confession of Belhar, as provided in G-6.03. and that the special committee formed to study the Confession of Belhar be granted a budget for education across the church about the confession, in addition to its committee budget for direct expenses. The Book of Order G-6.03 outlines the process for amending The Book of Confessions and the preface to The Book of Confessions contains “The Assessment of Proposed Amendments to The Book of Confessions.” The Moderator will appoint a 15-member committee composed of ruling and teaching elders.
The application for this Special Committee is due Friday, August 31, 2012.

Special Committee on Funding Theological Education is charged to review the funding relationship of theological institutions to the General Assembly and the church, and to propose any needed changes, including a strengthened funding mechanism for the support of theological institutions by the church. The Moderator will appoint this 13-person special committee in consultation with the Moderator of the 219th General Assembly and the Committee on Theological Education per the General Assembly’s action. The GA acted that it be comprised of persons who are especially knowledgeable about theological institutions. “One member should be the director of COTE, and a second the director of the GAMC Theology, Worship and Education ministry area. The remaining eleven should include two elected members of COTE, five PC(USA) seminary presidents, and a GAMC member. Other members would likewise be persons with knowledge and experience in the field of theological education, one of whom should have expertise in fund-raising. The special committee will hold up to three face-to-face meetings (an initial meeting for two days, and up to two additional one-day meetings). Conference calls and other technological resources would be used for other meetings in order to reduce costs.”
The application for this Special Committee is due Friday, August 31, 2012.

Special Committee to Review Biennial Assemblies. The 220th General Assembly voted that this Special Committee continue its work to the 221st General Assembly (2014) in order that all matters related to the form and function of the meeting of the General Assembly may be explored, developed, and discerned, and additional recommendations brought to the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly for the 221st General Assembly (2014). The Moderator will appoint three new committee members from among the commissioners to the 220th General Assembly (2012).
The application for this Special Committee is due Friday, August 31, 2012.

All appointments will be made by Rev. Neal Presa, Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012) in accordance with the Standing Rules of the General Assembly.

Tags: application, call, moderator, neal presa, nominations, service, special committee

  1. We expect the announcement of the appointments to these bodies will be released in the coming days. Stay tuned to the Presbyterian News Service for further details.

    by Molly Casteel

    October 3, 2012

  2. Billy L., The assembly acted on item 18-01 regarding the Belhar Confession ( Perhaps looking at the item as it was discussed and seeing the various actions taken before the final decision by the assembly will help answer your question.

    by Molly Casteel

    August 20, 2012

  3. Belhar was voted down once and now here it is again. Is this due to sacred discernment or secular wearing us down?

    by Billy Lowe

    August 19, 2012

  4. Dear Amy, thank you for your question. The 220th GA instructed the GA Moderator to appoint three new committee members from among the commissioners to the 220th GA. However, Moderator Neal Presa is seeking ways to involve YAADs in creative ways. Please email me at with your particulars so that I may send more information when it is available. Thank you again!

    by valerie small

    August 16, 2012

  5. Would a YAAD who attended 220th GA be eligible for the Special Committee to Review Biennial Assemblies?

    by Amy Parker

    August 16, 2012

  6. Jim M., GACOR welcomes a wider discussion of expanding access to, and participation in, decision-making processes and considers the preponderant ages of commissioners to be a concern (80% of commissioners to the 220th GA were eligible for AARP, there were twice as many commissioners over 65 as there were under 40). Commissioners are elected by their presbyteries alone. This assembly considered a report from the special committee to review biennial assemblies (Item 04-01) and recommended the continuation of portions of its work as a result, expanding its membership. The discernment of the 220th General Assembly was to recommend the specific membership criteria you see in this post. I encourage you to send your concerns in an email so that this committee, tasked with reviewing biennial assemblies and recommending actions, may give consideration to them. The GACOR as an advisory body does not have the authority to impose solutions but it does have access to assembly bodies to give its counsel.

    by Molly Casteel

    August 16, 2012

  7. A committee to review form and function of GA must be made up of people that were commissioners to GA? That's seems quite reactionary to me, part of a system designed to maintain the status quo rather than respond to changing times with new and dynamic ideas. And people wonder why young leaders in the church are so disenchanted.

    by Jim Moss

    August 16, 2012

  8. Jim, The terms of membership of these special committees and task forces were set by the 220th General Assembly (2012). The GACOR is wanting to make sure that the pool of candidates has the widest representation possible so is asking for assistance in getting the word out to those eligible for service.

    by Molly Casteel

    August 16, 2012

  9. Pretty misleading when making a call to the general church membership for nominations of volunteers for these committees when their limiting qualifications are already spelled out. Their membership has nothing to do with equal representation.

    by Jim Perry

    August 16, 2012

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