The Assembly considered an overture on “Admission of, and Apology for, Harms Done to the LGBTQ/Q Members of the PC(USA), Family and Friends.” With much discussion in both the committee and on the floor, and with the broad support of many groups – but not all – the Assembly approved a statement that says the PC(USA) “deeply regrets” actions whereby “any person might find cause to doubt being loved by God.”
Election of the Co-Moderators:
A change to the Standing Rules at the last General Assembly permitted candidates to stand for Moderator as either a traditional Moderator/Vice-Moderator team or as Co-Moderators. Both teams chose the Co-Moderator route this year and the Rev. Denise Anderson and the Rev. Jan Edmiston were elected with 76% of the vote. Rev. Anderson is a pastor in Temple Hills, MD, and Rev. Edmiston is Associate Presbyter of Chicago Presbytery. Following their election they navigated the Assembly well but admit they will need to work out the details of the position for the next 2 years.
Election of the Stated Clerk:
With the term of the current stated clerk finishing and his decision not to stand for reelection, the General Assembly elected a new clerk. The search committee nominated the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson and he was challenged by the Rev. David Baker of Tampa Bay. Rev. Nelson was elected with 80% of the vote. Rev. Nelson is a third generation Presbyterian pastor and has been directing the PC(USA) Washington, D.C., office for the last six years. Before moving to Washington, Rev. Nelson was a pastor at an urban church in Memphis. He is the fourth elected Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) General Assembly and the first African American to hold the position. Throughout the assembly tributes were paid to outgoing Stated Clerk Gardye Parsons.
The Assembly overwhelming voted to reaffirm the adoption of the Belhar Confession after the presbyteries gave their concurrence last year. This was the final step in the process of adding it to the Book of Confessions. The completion of the process was marked by comments from several people, including Allen Boesak, who was the chair of the synod meeting in South Africa when the Belhar Confession was first adopted by them thirty years ago. Excerpts from Belhar were used during devotions and cited in speeches throughout the meeting.