A busy week lies ahead for the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly as it begins its spring meeting at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville. In addition to COGA, the boards of the Presbyterian Historical Society and Presbyterian Mission Agency are also meeting in person at the Center this week. This will be the first time since early 2020 that the agencies’ committees and boards have met together in person.
COGA began its work on Tuesday with an update on planning for the 226th General Assembly of the PC(USA), which will be held June 25 through July 4, 2024, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kerry Rice, deputy stated clerk for the Office of the General Assembly, says the theme is “Live Into Hope.”
“The Stated Clerk sees this as an opportunity to charge the denomination after being in a space of lament and hope. We are now being charged to live into that hope,” said Rice. “The framework for the theme is based on the hymn of the same name by Jane Parker Huber. Daily themes have been chosen based on verses of the hymn.”
COGA has already approved a different format for next year’s gathering. All committees will be meeting online for three days, June 25-27. Commissioners and advisory delegates will then travel to Salt Lake City to hold plenaries June 30-July 4.
“We will set up a thematic emphasis each day of plenary that will help guide worship and work during those five days,” said Rice. “This gives us a really good place to start and there are a number of scriptural references for each of these.”
The daily emphases will be:
Live Into Hope…and Hear God’s Word — Sunday, June 30
Live Into Hope…of captives freed — Monday, July 1
Live Into Hope…the right to be — Tuesday, July 2
Live Into Hope…the end of greed — Wednesday, July 3
Live Into Hope…to faith and hope and joy and peace — Thursday, July 4
Because of the tight schedule in Salt Lake City, there will be no exhibit hall next year. But there are plans to make it possible for PC(USA) agencies and entities to connect with commissioners and advisory delegates, including an opening session on Saturday evening, June 29.
“We don’t have finalized plans, but we are looking at options within PC-Biz that would allow organizations to contact commissioners and advisory delegates,” said Rice. “There might also be opportunities within the constraints of online committees for engagement.”
One change for the 226th assembly will be the election of moderator or co-moderators on June 30 with the expectation that they will begin their duties the next morning.
“We will be providing training for those on the platform and that includes training all of the moderatorial candidates prior to the election,” said Kate Trigger Duffert, OGA’s manager of GA Business & Per Capita. “They will all be prepared and hopefully excited and ready to go.”
For Wednesday’s session, COGA will join the Presbyterian Historical Society Board during the morning meeting and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board in the afternoon at which time they will meet with the co-moderators of the Unification Commission in closed session.
COGA will wrap its spring meeting on Thursday.