Docket - 221st General Assembly (2014)

The 221st General Assembly will convene with worship at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 14, and adjourn no later than noon on Saturday, June 21. Some important events precede the official start of the assembly: on Saturday morning, commissioners and advisory delegates are invited take part in Riverside Conversations - a debate-free time to begin conversing about some of the topics before the assembly.

The proposed docket includes more information on the official assembly meetings.

The assembly schedule will include many other optional events and meals sponsored by various entities and organizations. These can be good ways to learn about church programs, meet other attendees with similar interests, and hear outstanding speakers.

Opportunities abound for spiritual nourishment at the assembly. The assembly begins with worship on Saturday morning. On Sunday morning, all participants will have the opportunity to worship in area churches; transportation will be provided. Daily worship services are planned throughout the week.

Update on 12/16/13

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  1. At a time in our history when we most need spiritual nourshment why are you trying to turn us into political activists.....we get enough politics from the government, so let's do what we do best, consentrate on being a church and quit trying to punish the Israelis. I believe they have been through enough!

    by Kim Stewart

    August 24, 2014

  2. With all the wrongs in the world, why did the GA decide that the Israel Divestment was the most important thing to address; and then why address it in such a high-profile, low effectiveness manner? I don't approve of my neighbor's dog biting people, so should I boycott Purina because that's what he feeds it?

    by Glenn Harvey

    June 22, 2014

  3. Please tell me why our beloved church wants to punish Israel with a BDS program?

    by J Tom Allen

    June 21, 2014

  4. Both parties in the negotiations to create a two state solution for the Israelis and the Palestinians have done things to derail these negotiations. Divesting from companies who do business with Israel and /or the West Bank, would punish one side, but not the other. Please do remember the years of terror that Israelis lived with during the Intifada, the continual and continuing rocket launches against Israel from Gaza, the fact that Hamas does not believe Israel should exist while expecting Israel to continue to negotiate with the united Palestinian government and the last problem, the kidnapping of the Israeli teenagers. Please turn your attention to issues that affect US citizens who are suffering here (human trafficking would be a good place to start), or if you really want to get political, then vote to boycott Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt and China who have abysmal human rights records that far outweigh anything that Israel is doing vis a vis the Palestinians.

    by Dorothea Dorenz

    June 20, 2014

  5. Went on PCUSA Mosaic of Peace conference to Israel/Palestine this Spring. We visited religious site, but also heard from Jewish, Christian Palestinian, and others. Saw conditions in West Bank and refugee camps. Heard from Break the Silence former Israeli soldier and visited with people living in apartheid( yes it is!) conditions. The church should be a voice for peace and justice. Without Justice there is no Peace!

    by Cyndi Barski

    June 20, 2014

  6. I am an American Jew that has witnessed first-hand the oppression of the Palestinian people. I spent three months in Nablus in the West Bank. While I was there, I experienced the humiliation these people go through every day just to get to work or visit family in the villages. They have no freedom of movement. There are hundreds of checkpoints scattered between cities in the West Bank, making what should be half hour commutes take up to two hours. This has nothing to do with protection and security for Israel. Most of the check points are not even on the border with Israel. What is happening is an apartheid state where one ethnicity is allowed more rights and BDS worked during apartheid in South Aftica and we can make it work now!

    by Abby Harms

    June 20, 2014

  7. With all respect, I wonder why the PCUSA, in debating the serious issues, controversies, and violence of the Israel-Palestine question, does not discuss equally the behavior of both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides. I am a Rabbi in America, and I have seen the reports of your church with respect to the behaviors of the Israelis against the Palestinians. And such behavior is worthy of criticism. But at the same time I have not seen any analysis of the effects of Palestinian inspired terrorism on the Israeli population. Can you imagine living near a bomb shelter and, when hearing the air raid sound (whether during the day when everyone is awake and able to flee, or even at night when no one expects to have an attack but you know it is imminent), knowing that you have only 15 seconds to make it to safety in the shelter if you happen to be in the target area of rockets coming from the Gaza Strip? Can you imagine the need to build so-called “safe rooms” in your comfortable homes and apartments, rooms that are made of steel-reinforced concrete that come with gas masks? Can you imagine the terror you'd feel if you sent your children off on a school bus not knowing whether they'd make it home safely. These too are realities that Israel’s citizens live with every day in the southern part of the land. So where is the criticism of the 10,000 rocket attacks that have taken place in the last few years? Where is the analysis of the intransigence of the Palestinians? It would be better to imagine how to affect the peace process in a positive fashion than to criticize one side or the other, or both for that matter. It seems to me that boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel are wrong: Not only are their effects one sided, but the punitive nature of these actions seem wrong-headed and, in the end, will be ineffective in any case. I have had many positive relationships with Presbyterians in my community, especially because they are seekers of truth. The proposed sanctions against Israel represent emotions of anger, to be sure. But would it not be better to place your energies toward finding a truly peaceful solution to the long-term problems?!

    by Jonathan Biatch

    June 19, 2014

  8. I reiterate Jack Rushiscko's comments. I too visited Jerusalem and the West Bank recently, on a Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) run jointly by the YWCA & YMCA in Jerusalem and Bethleham. I thought I knew a lot about Palestine and Israel but was horrified by the prison like locking in of Bethleham by 7 prominent illegal Jewish settlements on the hills around and immediately visible from the centre of Bethleham, and the concrete wall carving the town in two and cutting off Palestinian rights of thousands of years to visit Ravhels tomb. Having also seen Palestinians subject to pass laws within the West Bank, and heard the JAI and Jerusalem YMCA speakers on why they have become convinced Israel is operating an Apartheid state, I have been convinced that the Two State Solution is no solution. Just start with looking at the maps of current Gaza and the West Bank, then add in the total inhumane blockade of Gaza ( not to kill them but to force them out ) , and the hundreds of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and it is hard not to conclude that Israel is now not establishing bantistans. I saw the Bethleham Catholic Hospital and the Church of the Holy Sepulcre still riddled with machine gun bullets and cavities fron the last Israeli army illegal attack on the town in 2006, and heard directly from the nurse mother of the family I stayed with, of how they stayed working in that hospital under warfare for 5 days to protect the mothers and baby patients, I plead with anyone who can to join in the campaign and vote to divest and boycott Israeli goods, some of which are illegally produced in the West Bank.

    by Robyn Dasey

    June 19, 2014

  9. For most Jews Israel is not about revenge. It is about surviving as a distinct people with a unique and very important religious tradition. That means being able to pass the tradition on. The contempt for that tradition expressed by BDS advocates and some divestment supporters shows the need for a strong Israel and the issue we face persuading Jewish youth to continue the tradition given to us by Moses. That does not mean we like what Likud is doing. Many Americans don't like some of what our current and last president have done. So we try to work with people in our government not Tea Party it to take away as much of its power as possible. It is totally different to run a huge enterprise or a country than it is to run a protest movement. Huge numbers of people are involved, they aren't all wonderful, millions of decisions have to be made immediately, and plenty of mistakes are made because there are no perfect people.

    by David Marshak

    June 19, 2014

  10. I was raised in the Presbyterian church growing up but since have left the church but not bcz of any ill feelings, etc. If most Christians knew what was going on over there they would die. Even Palestinian Christians are living in hell there. Monks thrown to the ground and beating up just bcz they want to attend church in Jerulsalem. Israel will only allow visiting Christians in the churches there. And like someone else said they have hundreds of children in jail just bcz they throw rocks at soliders. The IDF are in full battle gear so how the heck can a rock really hurt them. Please even Bishop Desmond Tutu said he's seen the apartheid in the West Bank and Jerulsalem. The Pope was there praying for the Palestinians. Many, many Jewish people are divesting from companies who profit from Israels occupation of the Palestinians. Please help the People of Palestine.

    by Gayle Gililland

    June 18, 2014

  11. "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God."

    by Elizabeth Rahal

    June 17, 2014

  12. June 17, 2014. With all due respect, the diagnosis of the Israeli-Palestinian deadlocked conflict as apartheid is closer to reality but also simplistic. Bishop Desmond Tutu is one of many who have commented on this seemingly intractable conflict. Both sides seem compulsively driven to exhibit a sense of revenge as a base for their emotions. Solutions? Some have considered that external meddling adds to the rigidity of the standoff. Plenty of blaming and shaming going on from both sides. The easy way to try to pacify conscience. The structures of revenge and emotions find their ways into religion's forms and practices. When Muslims take the original Quran seriously, without its later additions and when Israelis take the Torah and Prophets strongly, then peace can be put onto the negotiation's table. Naive? It is so much easier to tell others what to do than to do it one's own self, to meddle than to mentor. Something to strengthen humility, neither blaming nor blinding. Something to pray about, to Elohim, to Allah.

    by Rev Charles Yopst

    June 17, 2014

  13. The misconceptions about Palestine are staggering in this country (USA). There are approx 200 Palestinian children in Israeli jails. According to the UN, the maximum sentence for 12 and 13 year olds is 6 months. It gets much worse for 14 and above, up to 10 years or more. Remember these are children. The IDF routinely pulls children from their beds in the middle of the night to interrogate them. In Hebron, a Palestinian city in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have taken over the commercial center of the town, with IDF forces patrolling the area. In is astounding that the Israeli government not only condones but encourages and provides military security to settlers in the middle of a Palestinian town. Where is the balance in coverage of the issues? Where is the balance of understanding and awareness of the prison that the Palestinians live in daily? Without the courage of Presbyterians and others who bring the issues out, the illegal and terrible treatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli government would be kept secret. This information needs to get out and be published and all should be aware of the concerns of all people - including the Palestinians.

    by Susan Brooksbank

    June 16, 2014

  14. I am a Presbyterian. Earlier this year I visited Israel and the West Bank. I witnessed the discrimination practiced against the Palestinians by Israel first hand. Hundreds of Jewish settlements have ben built in the West Bank after lands were taken from the Palestinians. Thousands of olive and fruit trees have been destroyed by the Israeli army in the West Bank. Palestinians who are Israel citizens under the 1948 UN plan, have had their lands taken from them. In Ba'ram, a village near the Lebanon border, the Army bulldozed it in the middle of the night in the early 1950's. Despite the Israeli Supreme Court ruling the land should be returned with compensation to the Palestinians, the Minister of Defense overruled the Court. For over 60 hears, the families of the villages have been praying for justice. Last week, the Army destroyed whatever was left of the village, and chased off the families. Ethnic cleansing is occurring on a daily basis, and soon Israel will control 100% of "Palestine". Palestinians in the West Bank cannot travel to Jerusalem for religious and family reasons without a permit; few are rarely given. Interstate highways which connect the settlements to Jerusalem and other cities cannot be used by the Palestinians without a permit. Few are given. It is time to institute "divestment procedures" to require "bargaining in good faith"!

    by Jack Ruzicho

    June 16, 2014

  15. I am anxious to hear how PCUSA will approach the unjust treatment of Palestinians by Israel. The Presbyterian Church should affirm that US policy in a region does not grant permission for stealing of land, confinement and oppression of a people by another. The church has the power to call out this injustice by leading a call to divest. I urge and pray that the church will announce this injustice and enact policy to demonstrate that it will not participate.

    by Iain Anderson

    June 16, 2014

  16. Shalom שלום I live in Israel on the East bank of the Jordan river. Did read in the news that the Presbyterian Church started to divest in Israel because of political pressure for reasons that seem not well founded. Are you sure your church is not in conflict with its own principles with their Israel policies? Nobody has a monopoly on GOD. And you cannot represent him if you preach and publish a distorted “truth” (out of fair proportions) with unloving insensitivity to the people living here you choose to discriminate. What is\are the crime(s) I be accused of to deserve your discrimination? Hope I can be of assistance and help you shed light on the truth and God and let lies be disabled. I write this in the hope to find some God respecting person willing for a dialog on this issue. Please do well and be blessed… Mikael Gosen

    by Mikael Gosen

    June 16, 2014

  17. I have been a Presbyterian church member for many years. Please let me know why our GA has or intends to bring up a political matter regarding the Governments of Israel and Palestine. Israel is our (USA) only dependable Ally in that part of the word. I maintain that the PCUSA should maintain silence. Each member certainly is entitled to their private views. Why take a public position that most members will most likely not support. Strike this from the agenda, please. Curtis Taylor

    by Curtis Taylor

    June 15, 2014

  18. Eva Thorburn, it is the hallmark of the PCUSA to vote our conscience, not take a survey and vote that way. Basic Book of Order.

    by Laurie Palmer

    June 14, 2014

  19. Are Church parishioners every surveyed to learn their feelings on issues. We have a representative but won't a rep just vote their feelings if no survey is taken?????? Inquiring minds just want to know.

    by Eva Thorburn

    June 14, 2014

  20. I would like to hear that the GA will dust off, discuss and vote to re-affirm the resolution supporting HR 676, Improved Medicare for all AND encourage local churches to spread the word of this action and take steps to start a conversation about why this is so important. The ACA is not the end to healthcare reform, but the beginning! It was a gift to insurance companies, not a solution to repair our economy over-burdened by immoral costs for care and resulting debt. It does not provide necessary care to all. Healthcare is a human right established in a the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When is the church going to back the fight to assure are rights are realized?

    by William Davis

    June 10, 2014