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A Letter from the General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery

General Assembly
Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday Night Greetings from the Motor City!

Today the Presbyterian Church (USA) gathered for its General Assembly, picking up where it left off in Pittsburgh two years ago. The weather is spectacular, the venue magnificent - a new convention center on the riverfront, in the heart of a major city with tons of cultural opportunities within walking distance, including a major league baseball stadium just a few blocks away. Sound familiar?

Pittsburgh set a mighty high bar two years ago as a General Assembly host, and so far Detroit has been right up there with it. We began with a spectacular opening worship service with 4,000 of our best friends - Presbyterian festival worship at its finest, accompanied by the Detroit Metropolitan Youth Symphony, the Alma College Pipe Band (yes, a small army of bagpipes!), and a superb mass choir. Moderator Neal Presa led us in remembering the core of our calling - proclaiming and embodying the saving love of God for every human being, no matter their identity or station in life. We raised the roof with an abundance of hymns from the new Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God. Our hearts were filled with the strong sense of the sweet and powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, as God’s people gathered in Jesus’ name.

Business began with our various mission agencies reporting what God has been doing in their fields of labor. We especially celebrated what God is doing through the work of our 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative led by our own Vera White. Kudos to Judah Fellowship, a new worshiping community in Pittsburgh, that has been meeting in the Community House Presbyterian Church - the Assembly voted them third place and a $3,000 prize in a national 90-second video competition for new worshiping communities.

The final event of a very long evening was the election of a new Moderator and Vice-Moderator to lead the remainder of this Assembly and to serve as public ambassadors for the PC(USA) over the next two years. After much struggle with a malfunctioning electronic voting system, the Assembly voted by paper ballot to elect as our new Moderator Ruling Elder Heath Rada of Montreat, NC, together with Vice-Moderator Rev. Larissa Kwong Abizai of New York City. As you pray for this GA, pray for them by name as they lead us through all the challenges and opportunities of the coming week.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day! I’ll check back in with you tomorrow.

The Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister

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