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Progressive Presbyterians encouraged commissioners to the 223rd General Assembly (2018) to adopt overtures calling for direct action on social witness concerns rather than creating study commissions.

A coalition of six progressive-leaning Presbyterian groups gathered Saturday morning for a breakfast briefing at the Centenary United Methodist Church. Advocates for overtures on matters including environmental concerns, LGBTQ issues, gun violence and Palestine/Israel addressed commissioners.

The Rev. Bart Smith, a commissioner from the Presbytery of de Cristo, introduced a commissioner’s resolution he filed Saturday opposing the separation of immigrant families. 

Representatives of Fossil Free PCUSA argued in favor of Overture 08-01, on divesting from fossil-fuel companies despite contradictory recommendations from the Advisory Committees on Racial Ethnic Concerns and Social Witness Policy.

“It’s clear that climate change requires response now, not in five or 10 years,” said the Rev. Abby Mohaupt, the group’s moderator.

The Rev. Brian Merritt, of Presbyterian Voices for Justice, said he hopes that various progressive-leaning groups will come together and put their specific disagreements aside. “All of these issues are seeing an upsurge in advocacy in the Presbyterian Church,” Merritt said.