Christ ‘has given us the ministry of reconciliation’
When the 221st General Assembly (2014) adjourned on June 21, a host of challenging issues had been carefully and prayerfully addressed, leading to momentous decisions that have the potential to impact our life together as one body in Christ.
Because the decisions of this Assembly have brought both great joy to some and great disappointment to others, attending to relationships with our sisters and brothers in Christ will be especially important as we engage each other in a spirit of humility.
As presbyteries begin the process of voting on the actions of the General Assembly—in the midst of a culture that too often feeds on conflict and confrontation—we humbly acknowledge that as people of faith, our reading of Scripture, our prayers, and our process of discernment will often lead us to differing views on important issues. In our ongoing discussions and forthcoming deliberations as we seek the mind of Christ, may we ever be reminded that Christ “has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18).
Conflict, uncertainty, and disagreement are certainly nothing new in our church’s history, a heritage marked both by fractious divisions and joyful reunions. In its blog, Heritage and Hope, the Presbyterian Historical Society reflects on how we Presbyterians “have lived through uncertain times, time and time again,” making the following critical observation:
So what does our heritage and our history offer us in these uncertain times? It should remind us that regardless of the cause of division, the mission of the church will continue, despite our self-inflicted wounds. That reminder should offer us hope that the love of Jesus Christ is greater than the acrimony and divisiveness that defines the present cause of unrest. And that love will carry and sustain into the future as it has in the past.
We commend to you the resources on this website as yet another window into our practice of reconciliation. We also invite you to help us to grow this body of resources by sharing your experiences, resources, and prayers with us by email.
Please join us in praying for the church and for all who are troubled in body, mind, or circumstance, that even in the midst of our differences and disagreements, we may always meet one another as sisters and brothers in Christ. May a renewed spirit of unity be kindled in our souls in the spirit of Christ’s prayer that we may all be one (John 17:20-23).
The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Ruling Elder Linda Bryant Valentine
Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency