This weekend, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada will take place. The Presbyterian Church in Canada is the particular brand of Christianity I practice, and the General Assembly is our big annual meeting where the assorted committees, teams, groups and other like things discuss and decide all things pertaining to our particular way of following and serving God.
Fully one-sixth of the ministers in our denomination, along with a matching number of Elders, will attend the General Assembly. Having lay and Clergy people present provides balance between the two aspects of service. Together, under the watchful gaze of the Moderator, they will hear from all of the groups working within the PCC and then work together to make informed, God honouring decisions about how our church will conduct itself.
It’s a big, important thing, this General Assembly. It is a unifying force that brings people from across the country together so that they can help our denomination thrive and grow. It brings together different perspectives and provides a forum for them to be examined and reflected upon. And it gives individuals from across the country an opportunity to meet one another so that the nameless “other” from far away might become a friend and a brother or sister in Christ.
It’s that opportunity to meet with other people that I appreciate the most about our General Assembly. Of course, the reporting, debating and decision-making are vital to the health of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, but it’s the chance to meet with other Presbyterians and hear from them, discuss our various points of view, and maybe have my heart and mind change, that I value the most.
Mind you, it’s not my turn to go this year, so that’s a bit disappointing, but I will be there in Spirit, praying for my friends and colleagues as they work together for the good of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. And, more broadly, I’ll be praying for all Christians and every denomination throughout the world, as they meet and talk and debate and grow in their own way, so that God might be honoured and Jesus be served. After all, while we give ourselves different titles and organize ourselves according to whatever we think binds us together, we are, in reality, one great General Assembly of sisters and brothers working together to God’s glory.