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224th General Assembly (2020)

224th General Assembly (2020)

Summary of the 224th General Assembly (2020) 

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The historic 224th General Assembly (2020) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) took place over four days: June 19, 20, 26, and 27, 2020. The scaled-down assembly gathering was the first to be held totally online with commissioners and advisory delegates participating via Zoom, while the Stated Clerk, Co-Moderators, parliamentarians, and technical personnel worked out of the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Stated Clerk Reelection

The Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, was reelected as Stated Clerk for another four-year term. Nelson was first elected to the post during the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland, Oregon. He was unopposed in this last election. The Stated Clerk Nominating Committee said it was satisfied that Nelson sought to hear the young voices in the church at all levels. Nelson also expressed his desire to address climate change, support small churches, and work to remove barriers to marginalized communities becoming fully involved in the church.

Co-Moderators of the 224th General Assembly (2020)

Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart and the Reverend Gregory Bentley were elected on the first ballot as the Co-Moderators of the 224th General Assembly (2020). They will go down in church history as the first Co-Moderators/Moderators to moderate an online assembly. Due to church travel restrictions, the Co-Moderators plan to connect with presbyteries and churches across the denomination electronically with hopes of traveling on behalf of the church when restrictions are lifted.

Budget

Commissioners to the 224th General Assembly (2020) approved unified budgets of approximately $80.1 million for 2021 and $83.4 million in 2022, covering the work of the Office of the General Assembly, the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and the Administrative Services Group. In addition, commissioners authorized the two boards and one committee that oversee the work of each agency to make decisions over the next two years on each agency’s budgets due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Any amendments to the approved budgets will be reported to the 225th General Assembly (2022).

Commissioners also voted to keep the apportionment rate flat for the next two years, at $8.98 per member.

Racial Injustice

Commissioners passed a resolution entitled “Responding to the Sin of Racism and a Call to Action.” Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, the Presbyterian Health Education and Welfare Association, and the Assembly Committee on Business Referral worked jointly on the motion that provides for the following:

  • PC(USA) churches and presbyteries would approve antiracism policies.
  • PC(USA) agencies are to review business items to be referred to the 225th General Assembly (2022) to ensure coverage under social witness policy.
  • A response to the COVID-19 pandemic was approved, seeking compassion and justice for the most vulnerable for the disease, including BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals as well as LGBTQ+ and persons with HIV.

An eight minute and 46 second silent vigil was held before the end of the assembly to acknowledge the time George Floyd was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer.

Committee/Commission Reports

The 224th General Assembly (2020) voted that the work/reports by the Moving Forward Implementation Commission, the Special Committee on Per Capita and Financial Sustainability, and the report of the Disparities Experienced by Black Women and Girls Task Force, would be taken up by commissioners to the next assembly.

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