by Keith Brokaw
Good morning and welcome to the next to last day of GA223. I will attempt to give a heathy description of the actions but may not be as insightful as my learned fellow commissioners.
We opened today with the beautiful music of Chip and his band as has been the custom every day.
Ecumenical guests greeted us thanked us for the time here, Carola Tron, EAD shared what is happening in Latin America especially all the natural disasters of late, also human rights in their respective lands. Carol feels more supported by the actions happening by PCUSA.
Assembly Committee on Bills and Overtures voted the docket and moved committee 3 to this afternoon. Assembly Committee on General Assembly Procedures (Financial Implications) the Assembly was informed that we have approved for 2019 – $499,490 and $390,030 for 2020 -$390,030. Pending is $197,259 and $151,959 for the years 2019 and 2020.
Assembly Committee on Mission Coordination (Financial Implications) the Assembly was informed that we have approved for 2019 – $1,004,978 and $857,805 for 2020. Pending is $106,040 and $96,540 for the years 2019 and 2020.
Environmental Issues (08) First was the issue of Environmental Racism and what is happening to the earth’s environment discussion ensued and vote was taken the overture passed 452 to 34. The next overture followed closely with similar concerns as the previous item. Vote was taken and passed 482 to 10. The Committee brought their motion on divestiture to the assembly and at the same time a minority report was also presented as even the committee had a hard time working through this sensitive issue. One major concern would be that there could be tax implications to the investment portfolio (not clear) and ultimately the investors in the fund. This is in direct contrast with how we save the earth with divesting from the fossil fuel industry. Money vs the world! The minority report presented by Sam MacGregor TEC, Jacqueline Cummings REC, and Kerri Allen they proposed through MRTI we continue our investments which keeps us at the table discussing the issues with all the fossil fuel company’s as shareholders. An example was given that Exxon/Mobile would like to buy back the stock we are in and not have to hear from the investing stakeholders. To continue with the MRTI reports and their follow up. Discussion ensued first regarding the perfecting the main motion and the minority motion, including amendments to the main motion. The main motion was perfected, and we continued to perfect the minority motion and discuss amendments to it. The minority motion (08-08) was perfected, then we started to discuss if it would replace the main motion (08-01) with the minority motion.
Bills and overtures moved to arrest the report and continue after lunch and worship service the motion was defeated with consequences that people who were here to lead worship
We are now back to deciding the substitution of the minority report for the main motion. The was a lot of discussion early on around the substitute motion and little was allowed regarding the Presbyterians desire of divestment. Many commissioners have spoken both for and against the substitution. It was then asked by motion to reconsider worship and lunch, motion passed and another motion by overtures was made and approved to arrest proceedings and move to worship followed by lunch.
Call to Worship was led by David Oates RE followed by Hymns of Praise and Prayers of Confession and the Assurance of Forgiveness by Rev. Karl Hauser. The Rev. Don Meeks, Greenwich Presbyterian Church, gave an inspiring Sermon around Cultivating Unity in the Church. How do we pursue unity in the body of Christ? We all had cards distributed at our seats titled My Covenant for Pursuing Unity in times of Disagreement. (photo attached) Service continued with the invitation to the table and a chance to dip our hands in the Baptismal Font , the blessing and the charge to the assembly,