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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

July 30, 2012

GA220 spotlight: The Church as Employer

Privilege, Power and Policy: The Church as Employer, the report of the Climate for Change Task Force to the 220th General Assembly (2012) and highlighted actions taken by the assembly.

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July 26, 2012


On July 26th, 1990, President George H. W. Bush, signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. The most recent social witness policy for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was adopted by the 217th General Assembly in 2006 Living Into the Body Of Christ may be found here. In 2000, the church celebrated the passage of That All May Enter (Minutes, UPCUSA, 1977, Part I, pp. 99–108).  That resolution may be found here. In 2008 the 218th General Assembly adopted Comfort My People: A Policy Statement on Serious Mental Illness with Study Guide.  That resource is ...

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July 21, 2012

Saturday, the last day of the GACOR exhibit at the Churchwide Gathering

Oh what a time we have had at the PW Churchwide Gathering here in Kissimmee, Florida.  So many good conversations, shared stories and lots of laughter.  Today we got to meet a mighty mother-daughter duo, Connie and Amy.  They met up in Florida from Washington state and Texas respectively.  Connie was a voting member at the business meeting this Triennium and Amy served on the Churchwide Coordinating Team for a few years and was back to visit with old friends. Connie Robinson, the mother (from Washington state), shows off her gifts for diversity and inclusion.  ...

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July 21, 2012

Friday at the Gathering

Don't be surprised if loved ones return from Orlando sporting a colorful cross on ankles, wrists, arms and even a cheek or two.  COR temporary tattoos are finding their ways onto participants, young and old, during their time at the Gathering.  Being in the exhibit hall has increased the opportunities to engage women from around the PCUSA and beyond in conversations about diversity, inclusion and representation in mid councils and general assembly.   Today we met Adrienne and Melody.  They filled out the COR mad libs and were willing to share them with you. Adrienne showed ...

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