221st General Assembly (2014)

June 14 - 21, 2014

Detroit, MI

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) meets biennially in even-numbered years. It consists of commissioners elected by each of its 173 presbyteries. The GA is full of activities: business sessions, committee meetings, an exhibit hall, daily worship services, and mission tours sponsored by the  Committee on Local Arrangements. 

The assembly acts on hundreds of items of business, which it receives through the reports and recommendations of various assembly entities, and through overtures from synods and presbyteries.

The 221st General Assembly (2014) will be held in Detroit, Michigan -  June 14 - 21.

  1. Thank you, PCA, for the brave move on divestiture. This is not about our relationship with Jewish people. It's about our relationship with the Palestinians and the policies of the State of Israel. Kerry was right to use the term APARTHEID in reference to the status of Palestinians (even though he was forced to retract that term). Divestiture was an important policy that helped push South Africa away from apartheid. I am heartened by this bold move of the PCA General Assembly.

    by a spiritualist

    July 21, 2014

  2. I would hope that the members of the assembly would read the article by Charles Krauthammer, "Moral clarity in Gaza". It will remind them of the history of the original model of two states living peacefully and productively side by side.

    by Delbert Chumley

    July 21, 2014

  3. I am deeply distressed at the direction of the PCUSA. Not only are they, in my opinion desperately wrong on their position on Israel, but tragically silent at best or wrong on their position on Abortion. There is a real war being waged in America today against Christianity, and I fear that the PCUSA is on the sidelines as a "conscientious objector", unwilling to participate in the battle.

    by Thomas C Whitsitt

    July 17, 2014

  4. Ephesians 3:6 - "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Jesus Christ." I'm disappointed that PCUSA has stepped away from God's word and His definitive direction regarding our relationship with Israel. I'm curious...If/when PCUSA churches use Ephesians 3:6 in their Sunday worship readings, will the congregational response still be "This is the Word of The Lord"?

    by Susan Quirk

    July 16, 2014

  5. The issue of divestment in the three companies is wrong. The 2014 PCUSA GA delegation discussion was way off. Israel is and has been America's friend since its inception, and the PCUSA is making a huge mistake in even considering thumbing our noses at the State of Israel. Let's get real and address the important issues of our time, and leave Israel alone. We need their help just as much as they need ours. I'm amazed at the lack of knowledge of history shown by those that voted in favor of this matter. Their moral compass is way off. Also, does anyone know how many Americans work for the three companies? To those that voted in favor, do you really want to cause some of our own countrymen and women to loose their jobs over this issue? The American economy may be the "best house in the neighborhood', but it still is experiencing a high degree of unemployment. It's disappointing that there had been very little discussion, if any, on growing our denomination. We are loosing members, yet, the topics of discussion omitted ways to grow our membership. Does one really think that divestment will stop our membership from further dwindling numbers? What ever happened to the 'many hands make work light'? More members equals more of an impact we can have in our society and across the world. We need to address successful methods to grow our membership and not to cause splits in our denomination. Let's get real!

    by R.M. Stallworth

    July 1, 2014

  6. The divestment agenda is very troubling in terms of focus and the folly it subscribes to, which is to say that there are many issues that are more worthy and less divisive to address. The message to mixed faith families in the Presbyterian Church is one that is really quite terrible, and a real shame for all of us.

    by Daniel Wolf

    June 29, 2014

  7. Thank you Presbyterian General Assembly for being courageous, honest and caring enough to end investing in companies that supply Israel with equiptment used to destroy Palestinian homes/neighborhoods. As a former Foreign Service brat I have been ashamed/frustrated for too long now with our country's support for ethnic-cleansing-Israel, and in the past, too many other countries committing terrible human rights abuse. You are a spark of hope and maybe even a sign that soon more of my fellow Americans will become aware of some of our more shameful foreign policies. I am also a recently retired merchant mariner and just a few years ago visited the port of Haifa, Israel delivering cargo. As an eye-witness I can report to you that Apartheid is a reality for the few Palestinians still remainingwithin Israel's ever expanding borders. (A majority of Palestinians are refugees living in terrible conditions in refugee camps in countries bordering Israel. Sincerely, Charlie Booher, St Augustine, Florida

    by Charles Booher

    June 29, 2014

  8. I read with dismay some of the comments on this discussion page and wonder if any of those who oppose BDS have read the Kairos document published by Palestinian Christians, or read the open letter to American Rabbis by Desmond Tutu when he was in the USA . In it he says that in his opinion what is happening in Israel/Palestine is worse than apartheid, and there speaks a man who knows. As a Christian I believe in a just and compassionate God for all not just a select few.

    by jenny ashcroft

    June 28, 2014

  9. After reading the comments on divestment I concluded that the vote was based on feelings not on the truth of the situation. This a worrisome trend. People of good faith and concern for ALL must stand against these illusions being projected by special interest. No more smoke and mirrors games!

    by Ken Elliott

    June 26, 2014

  10. Thank you, PCUSA, for your courageous vote to divest from the companies supporting the Israeli occupation. The occupation is arguably as destructive to Israel as it is to Palestinians. The collective rationalization of the occupation is, in my opinion, morally destructive to all who either ignore it or support it.

    by L M L

    June 24, 2014

  11. To many the divestment from three corporations looks like a lopsided action. But as someone who has attended many assemblies and who has served congregations which have supported the bringing of a variety of other kinds of overtures to General Assembly, I think it would be good to remember that any Presbyterian has the ability to move an overture forward through their session, their presbytery and finally to General Assembly. If people are passionate about divesting from corporations doing business in Syria or Sudan or any of the other nation-states mentioned in the comments below, it is entirely possible to initiate that process and make it happen. The church will move if there is passion and interest in doing that work. I want to encourage people who have concerns about those kinds of investments to begin work now so your interests can be represented at the next assembly.

    by Rev. Debra Avery

    June 24, 2014

  12. I am in my eighties - and a retired Army veteran and civil servant of 44 years. I wholeheartedly support the Israeli people and their Prime Minister for defending the land that God Almighty gave them. Their leaders and captains of industry have turned desert land into lush farming areas and they supply a great deal of the fruits and vegetables to the European continent and elsewhere. And, at the same time they have the wisdom to maintain a military force that, with or without U.S. aid, has kept historical enemies at bay. I a God-fearing conservative who strongly believes my fellow Presbyterians should review the scriptures and take note of the many times our Lord God instructed his people to prepare good defenses. It should also be pleasing to God that our church leaders invest in ways to feed and house the poor of this world.

    by Joe Kosarski

    June 23, 2014

  13. Just wondered what other countries the church is boycotting out if principle? None? Thought not. How about Sudan who threatened to stone a woman to death for marrying a Christian and rejected her Islamic faith? Or Pakistan wherever mob actually did this?

    by Marc

    June 23, 2014

  14. This divestment is another indication of the politicizing of the Church. I have had Jewish-Christians in my congregation asking how to explain this to their Jewish family members. Rather than even-handedly divesting ALL parties who are doing business with regimes engaged in illegal, violent and unjust things (Muslim and Jewish), this does nothing but divide the Church (by taking sides on a minimalist majority vote). Better to have done something positive: like send aid and help to the Palestinians rather than a futile, mean-spirited gesture to divest stock in companies selling to Israel. Does the word misguided or simply stupid come to mind?

    by David A. Fraser

    June 23, 2014

  15. The Presbyterian Church use of financial divestment to engage in international politics when your fellow Christians are being persecuted by the very people you are supporting is hypocritical and worthy of rebuke by other Christians. The Presbyterian U.S.A. divestment of financial interests in companies operating in the West Bank is the least of the issues you should be addressing as a Christian church. If you wish to influence international activity, your priority should be focused on the murder, maltreatment, and persecution of Christians which is epidemic in the Middle East, to include the Palestinian Authority and its terrorist ally, Hamas. As a Christian, I am saddened by your alliance with the money changers and those who persecute your fellow Christians. I pray that God will change your priorities. In His name, Charles Lowman Houston, Texas

    by Charles Lowman

    June 23, 2014

  16. Divesting stock in three companies that are not in any way a threat to the Palistiniens is not only a mistake, but opens up the front for many more companies for the PGA to follow. This move is a major mistake. Israel is the only country in the Arab world that's a true friend to America. And Israel is the only country that is a true Democracy. Hamas Palistinians has threatened to wipe this country of the face of the earth and has been deemed by the USA and the free world a terrorist organization. This is a country so small it in spots is only twenty five miles wide. But a coutry that has brought some of the highest standards in both education and development producing product that has been the envy of the world. Six million people were thrown to their death, Jews finally found their own country again, a country that has been theirs for thousands of years. They will never allow another holacost to happen again.

    by Norman Baron

    June 22, 2014

  17. Shalom: I am a Jew and a citizen of the U.S.A. and Israel. I note with interest the recent vote of your church assembly to divest from three U.S.A. corporations that have business affairs in the West Bank territory. I further note the assertions of your spokesperson that: a) the purpose of the divestment is to promote peace, and b) that the divestment is not anti-Semitic. If the assertions of the church spokesperson are indeed true, where is the church divestment from corporations that do business with China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and the host of other wholesale and serial abusers of human rights? Why is the Presbyterian Church's first and only divestment since South Africa against corporations that are doing business with Israel? Based on the preceding evidence, one must conclude that the divestment vote of the Presbyterian church reflects the anti-Semitism of some of the church members, in spite of Church assertions to the contrary. I am disappointed in you, i.e., the Presbyterian church, as a group, and I hope that you will seek to redeem your moral standing by revoking your divestment vote. Admitting that one has behaved in an anti-Semitic fashion is the first step in redemption: Note for example the historic declaration of the United Nations that equated Zionism with racism, and the even more important U.N. vote that subsequently revoked that declaration.

    by Martin Goodman

    June 22, 2014

  18. When/where will adjustments in the proposed GA docket be posted?

    by Schaunel Steinnagel

    June 18, 2014

  19. And if I may quote DT from another forum who said it best, "Regarding the vote, I don't think most Presbyterians realize that the ability of BDS advocates to speak in the name of the church is what this vote is all about." I have many Jewish friends, and no matter how PC USA would like us to explain otherwise, this is exactly how my Jewish friends see this. Think about it. Please.

    by Annabel

    June 17, 2014

  20. remember that blessing doesn't mean blind acceptance of actions. Perhaps the best way to bless israel is to be honest and impact them toward loving change. We can bless israel and the world by being honest that we won't support hatred and actions that aren't ethical.

    by tadd

    June 17, 2014

  21. My earlier comment didn't post so let me try this again: God will bless you if you bless Israel....he has been pretty clear about this. The vocal minority pushing BDS and the labeling of Israel as an apartheid state does not represent most of us sitting in the pews, and I want no part of it. I will not betray our Jewish friends. Shalom.

    by Annabel

    June 17, 2014

  22. Why do you listen to people and not, God - those who bless Israel will be blessed, and cursed otherwise. Pretty simple isn't it (it's not a question). If you lose the fear of God you put yourself in a dangerous place.

    by Norm Rogers

    June 17, 2014

  23. Presently in the Muslim counties they are brutily killing each other. Christian Churches are being burnt down and the Christiian population is being persecuted and disappearing in the Muslim countries, including the Palistian teritories. In the Palistian territories openly Gay and Lesbian people are being killed, honor killing is tollerated,and they cheered for our enemies during our war in Iraq. The Presbyterians should thank God for Israel the only country in the Middle East where the Christain poplution has increased and Christians don't have to worrhy about their lives or churches.

    by N.D.Druger

    June 16, 2014

  24. God will bless what you decide if you decide out of love and not fear. Please do not vote because you fear others will leave. Vote from a heart of of love for all and for all of God's creation.

    by Greg McDonell

    June 15, 2014

  25. As a full blooded Messianic Jew whose father had to flee the pogroms of Russia, please consider our need for safe borders in Israel. Gen 12:3 says that God will bless those who bless the Jewish nation and curse those who curse her. America needs the blessing.

    by Rand Katz

    June 15, 2014

  26. There is an elephant in the living room here that some seem oblivious to: B.D.S.-ers do not support a two-state solution at all and are in favor of a one-state solution instead -- when they allow themselves to be pinned down on this question at all. Too many Presbyterians seem unaware of that. Most importantly, too few of us who look at B.D.S. at all bother to unwrap the "under-the-table" version of "a one-state solution" coming from most B.D.S.-ers. Those that really do their homework -- like J Street, a progressive organization that is often at odds with AIPAC -- are now troubled that the "one-state solution" most B.D.S.-ers aim for provides no attempt at protecting a minority from being abused by a majority. In fact, many B.D.S. leaders strenuously avoid addressing the matter of two-state/one-state altogether, stressing only "this occupation" again and again. That evasion is deeply troubling, in my view, and since B.D.S. is not even intended as an effort at two states at all, but an effort primarily aimed at "the occupation" and settlements, one has to wonder just how it envisages the future at all, post-occupation. To say that B.D.S.-ers mostly oppose a two-state solution is not to indulge in some abstruse extrapolation. One can Google "B.D.S./two-state/one-state", and their opposition to a two-state resolution is out there, everywhere you look; and for many of them, since any real solution has nothing to do with targeting the occupation right now, they ignore the onus for even considering a long-term solution at all! Is that living in the real world? Thank goodness those supporting the two-state solution are at least humane enough to realize that only in two separate states can oppression of one demographic by another be prevented -- mostly. But the single state implicitly supported by B.D.S.-ers means bringing everything right back to the '20s and following, when one demographic, like the Arabs during that period, can indulge in pogroms at will against the minority, as happened against the Jews in '20, '21, '29, etc. This is just supplanting one injustice with another. What's the point of that? Why roll the clock back? Maybe those subscribing to this are not necessarily anti-Semitic, but they are certainly woefully ignorant when it comes to understanding history.

    by Geoffrey Riggs

    June 15, 2014

  27. Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Please don't support illegal Israeli settlements outside of Israeli international borders that segregate people by race or religion, Jew or Gentile.

    by David Holle

    June 14, 2014

  28. Praying for the PCUSA as GA begins tomorrow. May God's Spirit flow freely opening hearts and minds to the grace available to all.

    by William Westmoreland

    June 13, 2014

  29. I strongly support a yes vote on the GA resolution to divest from three companies that profit from the Israeli occupation, i.e. Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions. This SELECTIVE divestment is an essential next step after ten years of corporate engagement by the Presbyterians and others has failed. This selective divestment is targeted at three multi-national corporations connected with human rights abuses. It does NOT call for divestment from the State of Israel or Israeli-owned companies, contrary to some of the misleading comments below.

    by Jared Tinklenberg

    June 13, 2014

  30. I am for divestment, simply because Israel has a troubled history of oppressing Palestinians, Arab and Christian. But it's politics, for sure. What's all the more troubling for me is how many evangelicals have bought the unbiblical notion that today's State of Israel figures in God's plans for the coming Messiah. Nothing could be further from the biblical truth. Clear this misconception away and dealing with the injustice and cruelty of the State of Israel becomes much easier.

    by Tom Eggebeen

    June 13, 2014

  31. My prayer is that we SUPPORT Israel and that you do not support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution

    by Jerry Harrold

    June 13, 2014

  32. Dear General Assembly Members, Your consideration of the issue of divestment is in line with the liberal history of your Church and the example of steps taken by many institutions against South Africa to help end the tragedy of Apartheid. However, the Occupation of the West Bank is not akin to Apartheid, Israel is not South Africa and adding the weight of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to the international BDS campaign will be misconstrued as acceptance by the Church of a Right of Return enunciated on the BDS Movement Website that clearly portends the termination of the State of Israel. Such a negative step will further the delegitimization of Israel and cause it to re-double its efforts to resist this attack on it's good name, increasing the distance between Israel and Palestine and postponing indefinitely their ability to realize Peace.

    by Larry Snider

    June 12, 2014

  33. Divesting from companies that support a repressive military occupation and the illegal colonization of an occupied territory seems quite reasonable to me. Like many other people (including large numbers of Israelis), I'm pro-Israel but anti-occupation. Furthermore, there is a similar resolution being considered regarding companies supporting Morocco's illegal occupation and colonization of Western Sahara, so this idea that Israel is somehow being unfairly singled out is bogus.

    by Stephen Zunes

    June 12, 2014

  34. I just sent the following email to Robert Naiman, regarding the proposed divestment in Israel: This is a dreadful idea. How about a resolution divesting all support from tyrannical Monarchies, from those Islamic countries that kill and imprison others of their own faith? No Democracy is perfect, not ours & not Israel's, but how about a message of support for the one democratic society that tries, struggles, succeeds, fails but still represents the best hope for a light among nations in the Middle East.

    by Saul Lilienstein

    June 11, 2014

  35. The BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) argument is biased against Israel and grossly unfair because it chooses to ignore the aggression that Israel has endured from the Palestinians since Israel became a nation in 1948. On five occasions (1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and continually from Gaza since Israel withdrew in 2005), Israel has been the target of Palestinian Arab attacks. Since Israel withdrew under international pressure from Gaza in 2005, more than 8000 rockets have been fired into civilian areas in Israel. Where is the Christian outrage about that? Palestinian children are taught in their schools to hate and fight against Israel and the Palestinians continue to refuse to acknowledge Israel's right to existence. Israel, on the other hand, has integrated many Palestinians into Israel as full citizens and members of government, disproving the claims of Apartheid. Many Palestinians are suffering, but it is primarily because they have chosen to live in hostility against Israel. It's time to stop blaming Israel for doing what they need to do in order to survive.

    by Earle Moreland

    June 11, 2014

  36. Detroit welcomes 221st General Assembly. Let us come together to show God's love for all.

    by Jean Russell

    June 11, 2014

  37. I have not been fond of BDS as a strategy. However, I think that economic pressure is our only hope of influencing Israel to treat Palestinians with justice and dignity since our government seems unwilling to do anything meaningful. I hope our church will take the stand to support BDS against Israel.

    by Dianne Wheeler

    June 10, 2014

  38. I hope to visit the Living Waters for the World booth and see our friends Jerry and Verniece Goode from Mississippi who trained me when I went to Cuba to install a water filtration system for our (St Charles Ave Presbyterian in New Orleans) sister church in Cardenas, Juan G Hall.

    by Kamin Lambertson

    June 9, 2014

  39. The Church of Scotland just completed their GA last month. Had the opportunity to sit in briefly in Edinburgh. They have 45 Presbyteries to our 172. The new Moderator published a short statement on their web page I'd commend all commissioners to read before the GA in Detroit. FYI: The Church of Scotland has been for several years in deficit and is consolidated churches and selling off properties.

    by dana gilmour

    June 9, 2014

  40. I prayerfully and definitely encourage the Presbyterian conference to vote to divest from businesses that profit from injustice to the Palestinian people.

    by Anna McRea

    June 8, 2014

  41. Several days ago a conference took place to discuss the ten years-long program of sanctioning Iran. The arguments were made that a. sanctions are crippling Iran's economy, which is the desired effect; and b. that this crippling impact is what brought Iran to the negotiating table. The conferees agreed that Yes, the actions originating in the US Treasury department are war, by other means. According to the conferees, economic warfare is being carried on against Iran to "stop Iran's nuclear weapons program" and, according to Jane Harman, who spoke at the conference, because Iran aids the Palestinians in resisting Israel's repression of Palestinian rights. But, according to the agencies charged with monitoring nuclear activity, Iran is NOT building nuclear weapons and its use of nuclear technology is within its treaty rights. Thus, that claim of the Conferees is false and their war is waged on a lie, just as the war against Iraq was waged on lies. Iran's aid to the Palestinians may offend those who are offending Palestinians, but a Christian would surely recognize Iran's aid as a corporal work of mercy. Iran is not doing anything wrong, yet Iran is subjected to "BDS" -- economic warfare intended to destroy Iran's economy and cause suffering among the Iranian people. Israel IS committing human rights offenses against the Palestinian people, and IS in violation of international norms and laws. How much more appropriate it is to subject Israel to BDS in order to bring Israel into the fold of compliance with human rights and international norms, in as nonviolent a way as possible. I definitely encourage the Presbyterian conference to vote to divest from businesses that profit from injustice to the Palestinian people.

    by Anna McRea

    June 8, 2014

  42. BDS is not the way if Presbyterian Church Members truly hope for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The first step toward peace is recognition by the Palestinians for Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State. Pleace will certainly follow.

    by Paul Warner

    May 27, 2014

  43. I trust the vote will be favorable to Divest from the companies who profit from the injustice to Palestinians. We should not be making money on the backs of the oppressed.

    by Beverly Henkel

    May 23, 2014

  44. As a member of the Gender Based Work Group/Social Justice and Peace Making, Presbytery of Detroit I extend an cordial invitation to Embracing the Vision: Global Servant Leadership Opportunities on Tuesday, June 17th at 3:30. Join us for a meaningful and memorable afternoon at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Take advantage of the an opportunity to meet with diplomats from the Republic of Botswana, Peace Corps executives, Presbyterian Church USA's Young Adult Volunteer Program and be entertained by Detroit's finest musicians. Above all we have the opportunity to do Gods work both locally and globally.

    by Rozana Kelly

    April 30, 2014

  45. I had the opportunity to attend the 2008 General Assembly as a commissioner from Pittsburgh Presbytery. What an experience. If your presbytery gives you an opportunity to go as a commissioner, take full advantage of it. You will not regret it.

    by robert h wright jr

    January 3, 2014

  46. Am sorry happy with number of worshipers in the presbyterian church U.S.A. Our good GOD will continue to multiply the number in Jesus name Amen. I'm a member of presbyterian church of Nigeria. God bless you all in Jesus name Amen.

    by Udo Onwu

    October 12, 2013

  47. I am the member of Presbyterian church Hafizabad Punjab Pakistan i feel lucky to be part of the meeting for uplifting of our church.

    by Farzan Jacob

    July 7, 2013

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