PCUSA Leadership Promoting the Values of Big Tent 2015

June 24, 2015

Louisville, KY

There may never be a more important time for the Presbyterian Church to gather together in joyful, diverse and worshipful community than now.  Such a gathering has a name – Big Tent.

Big Tent 2015 will be assembling at the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, Tennessee with joyful worship at 4:00 on Thursday, July 30.  Over the following days there will be more worship, Bible study and workshops and a generous opportunity to reclaim the energy and spirit of discipleship.

            Five values have guided the development of Big Tent and claim our hearts at this time in the church’s journey:

  • To live simply, with gratitude for the rich blessings of the church and creation
  • To join in joyful, diverse, worshipful community, sharing our time, our meals and our hearts with disciples, both familiar and new
  • To take a respite from the hustle of life and ministry in order to receive the quiet blessings of community, scripture and mission
  • To engage our individual passions for church growth, spiritual practices, justice and compassion in the larger vision of a missional church
  • To encounter and learn the scriptures together with enthusiasm and depth

There is a Kairos – a rightness of time – in holding the Big Tent at the charming community of a campus this summer.  The setting provides a witness of simplicity and space for encountering each other around Christ’s call for mission.  There will be generous opportunities for fun and for respite from the swirls of ministry.

Big Tent will also see the launch of the Ask Me Why You Matter To Me campaign to recommit Presbyterians to racial justice and the proclamation lives of people of color matter.   

Registration continues to be open at the original rates.  For more information visit www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/big-tent/  

Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Heath K. Rada
Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Larissa Kwong Abazia
Vice Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Marilyn S. Gamm
Chair, Presbyterian Mission Agency Board

  1. By no means do I agree with all the decisions that the PCUSA has made in recent years. On the other hand, I don't necessarily disagree with the focus of the Big Tent. There is nothing in the 5 values listed above that is incompatible with the gospel of eternal salvation. We live in a culture saturated with words, due in no small part to a voluble evangelical subculture. But words unattested by deeds are worse than useless. Because of the strong emphasis the Reformed churches at their origin placed on sanctification and Christian obedience, it is hard for me to see how the Big Tent is a betrayal of the Reformed heritage. On the contrary, to neglect the 5 values is a betrayal of this heritage.

    by Christopher Dorn

    July 23, 2015

  2. Why is it so difficult for the PCUSA to make the proclamation of the gospel of eternal salvation through Christ a "central value" claiming the hearts of those going to the "Big Tent"? The apostle Paul declared, "I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power for salvation to everyone who believes...." Yet, there is not even a hint of the gospel in the 5 values listed above, nor in the "Ask Me Why You Matter to Me" campaign. What a betrayal of the Reformed heritage to which the PCUSA used to be attached.

    by Mateen Elass

    June 24, 2015

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