News from the Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk
The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, notified the General Assembly recently that he is stepping down as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA). Nelson informed the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) that he would not seek a third term and resigned as of June 30, 2023. COGA has acted swiftly to name an Acting Stated Clerk, the Rev. Bronwen Boswell, currently the General Presbyter and Stated Clerk of Shenandoah Presbytery, to serve until a new Clerk is elected at the General Assembly meeting in Salt Lake City in June 2024. A nominating committee will consider persons to be nominated for election as the next Stated Clerk.
Bronwen was ordained on October 18, 1987 by National Capital Presbytery, and has served numerous churches as an interim pastor and has served as a stated clerk and/or presbytery leader in several presbyteries since 2000. I came to know Bronwen when we both served as volunteer parliamentarians at General Assembly, and particularly at the 2010 General Assembly when, as co-moderator of the Form of Government Task Force, I worked with Bronwen when she was parliamentarian for the Assembly Committee that considered our work.
This GA will be the first one to follow the more traditional schedule for GA meetings since before the pandemic. Preparations for that meeting are already in full swing. Presbyteries are asked to elect their commissioners by early December. Contact our nominating committee if you are interested in being considered as one of our two minister and two ruling elder commissioners to this meeting. The dates of the 226th General Assembly (2024) are June 25-July 4, 2024.
One of the main items of business currently underway for consideration at the next General Assembly is the work of the Unification Commission, approved at the 225th General Assembly (2022). This commission is tackling the assigned task of combining the Office of the General Assembly and Presbyterian Mission Agency into one entity. There are six entities at the General Assembly level of our denomination. In addition to these two, the others are the Board of Pensions, Presbyterian Foundation, Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, and Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.
Combining OGA and PMA into one entity is a somewhat daunting task, as the two entities have widely different historical roots. OGA has been an ecclesiastical office charged with fulfilling the Constitutional responsibilities given to the General Assembly by the Book of Order. The Presbyterian Mission Agency historically has been the mission arm of the General Assembly, and oversees the largest share of the Assembly’s budget. In recent years, some of the lines between these two entities have become blurred, with OGA venturing into certain missional efforts (for instance, the Matthew 25 Initiative, in cooperation with PMA), and dwindling financial resources and other financial constraints seem to be driving this train.
I encourage you to pay attention to the work being done by the Unification Commission. Bronwen Boswell will bring a fresh set of eyes to this work. Let us all uphold her and the Unification Commission in our prayers as preparations continue for the next meeting of the General Assembly.
Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk
Rev. Dr. Dan Williams