Co-Moderators at General Assembly 226

Co-Moderators of the 225th General Assembly (2024) the Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis (left) and the Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace lead the first plenary meeting of the 226th General Assembly (2024) in Salt Lake City on June 25, 2024. Photo by Randy Hobson

Slowed by audio problems during the first 15 minutes of the livestream, the opening plenary of the 226th General Assembly nevertheless came off Tuesday morning, led by the swearing in of commissioners and advisory delegates by the Rev. Bronwen Boswell, Acting Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

“Wherever we gather, we know that we will face challenges. And still the grace bestowed upon us in baptism is sufficient for each of us to answer our call to serve — because it is God’s grace,” Boswell said to commissioners and advisory delegates being sworn in online. “By God’s grace we are formed and reformed to grow in the truth, committing our lives to service and living into the hope of God’s coming kin-dom.”

Commissioners were asked to answer the traditional questions: Who is your Lord and Savior? Will you be Christ’s faithful disciple, obeying his word and showing his love? Do you welcome the responsibility of this service because you are determined to follow the Lord Jesus, to love neighbors, and to work for the reconciling of the world? Will you serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination and love, relying on God’s mercy and rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit?

And to those gathered who aren’t serving roles as commissioners or advisory delegates: Do we, as members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), accept these commissioners as chosen by God, through the voice of the church, to guide us in the way of Jesus Christ and accept the unique call placed on advisory delegates to serve in the deliberations of this church council?

About 15 minutes into the initial plenary, the audio component returned in time for the Co-Moderators of the 225th General Assembly (2022), the Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace and the Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis, to lead commissioners and advisory delegates in some test voting exercises. After that, it was time to get down to the initial business of the assembly.


The first plenary session of the 226th General Assembly of the PC(USA) was held online in the multi-media center of the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. Photo by Randy Hobson

The Rev. Erin Howton-Angel, Moderator of the General Assembly Committee on Business Referral, put forward the first item of business to require a vote: REF-05, a suspension of the Standing Rules to allow for the vote of the Stated Clerk nominee, the Rev. Jihyun Oh, to occur in person in Salt Lake City during the fourth plenary session, which will be Monday, July 1. That passed by a 353-1 margin.

Howton-Angel, of the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee, then moved on behalf of the committee REF-07, the proposed docket for the 226th General Assembly (2024). That proposal passed 359-0.

Warren Kraft, the committee’s vice-moderator, who’s from Winnebago Presbytery, then moved on behalf of the committee REF-01, Business Referrals to Committee. That passed 357-1.

Representing the General Assembly Nominating Committee, the Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena, General Presbyter and Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida, reported there were 73 applications from people willing to serve on General Assembly entities. The slate of nominations is here. PLEN-03 is the 225th General Assembly Co-Moderators’ slate of nominations for new members of the General Assembly Nominating Committee. “For the gifts and willingness of all these individuals,” Bultena said, “we give thanks to God.”

Santana-Grace closed the 45-minute plenary with a prayer including these words of thanks to the Almighty: “What a privilege it is to serve your church together with faithful siblings committed to being an Easter people. Be with all the committees as they begin the work of discernment. May their deliberations reflect a willingness to see one another as you see us. We thank you for each and every one of them, and we pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Check with throughout the next three days to read accounts of many of the committees gathered online as part of the 226th General Assembly (2024).