This coming Saturday, June 16, 2018, will mark the opening of the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), in nearby St. Louis, Missouri. The General Assembly is the highest governing body for our "Reformed, Always Reforming" church with a membership of close to 1.5 million members.
For many, this event will pass without much notice or news in public media outlets, neither fake nor fair. That is, unless some bold action is taken by the hundreds of commissioners who have gathered from across the country, including international mission partners (to read more go to http://www.pcusa.org). Our Clerk of Session, Gary Terpstra, is one of those commissioners, so he will be part of the action beginning this Saturday morning at 11:00 am with opening worship and ending the following Saturday with closing worship. Members of HPC's Missions Committee, including Kathy Sorensen, Carol Finley, and Sue Hack, will attend the Global Missions Luncheon on Monday to hear Leisa Wagstaff speak. Leisa has visited Hope in years past and is one of three missionaries Hope supports annually.
For many, the GA is like "Old Home Week" and an opportunity to see colleagues and friends like a big family reunion. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, for even a short time, this biennial gathering to watch the church at work. Now, before anyone likens this activity to watching paint dry, I will remind you (and myself) that the work of being the church is about paying attention to the movement of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit moves in the lives of individuals and then gathers them into groups to collectively pay attention to that movement and to discern the direction that wind/breath/Spirit is moving us all. I remind you: "none of us knows as much as all of us know together." A corollary statement might be, "Each of us serves best when all of us serve together." Whether you attend GA or not, I urge you to join in the millions of prayers that will assist us all in discerning where the Holy Spirit is empowering the church in being the church.
And as we make our way to our worship here at Hope, I invite you to read these Scripture Lessons, Mark 4:26-34 and 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 to prepare yourself for the proclamation and activation of the Word in worship and praise for this coming Sunday. For those who are traveling, remember to travel safely, enjoy the journey, gather up stories and come home to share them! As a reminder, this summer is another great opportunity to invite family, friends, neighbors and anyone you meet to come worship with you at Hope.