Unity with difference

August 1, 2012

—Michael Whitman


I have been Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for one month. How grateful and humbled I am to serve Jesus Christ and the church in this way and for such a time as this.

I have already met thousands of you, my Facebook friends and Twitter followers have increased 1000%, and I have received invitations to visit congregations and presbyteries. The next nine months are filling up as Vice Moderator Tom Trinidad and I discuss and discern how and where to itinerate. [Please contact the Office of the General Assembly (molly.williams@pcusa.org) to arrange a visit.]

During the election, I lifted up the need for us as a church family to strive for “unity with difference,” reflecting the apostolic call in Eph. 4:3 of “making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

I have heard from those of you I’ve met that you want our church family to be together in worship, mission, and our common witness in Jesus Christ. Over our term, Tom and I will preach, teach, and model “unity with difference,” conducting churchwide conversations on what it means to find sacramental unity in our common baptism in the Triune God.

Again, the apostle Paul’s words, this time from The Message:

In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. (Eph. 4:1-6)

May it be so with us.

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