Report of General Assembly Commissioner, Rev. Robert Rush
REPORT OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY COMMISSIONER, REV. DR. ROBERT RUSH
I appreciate Trinity Presbytery endorsing me as Moderator of the 182ND General Assembly. The Retiring Moderator always preaches at the opening worship service and opens the next General Assembly, thus I had the privilege of representing this presbytery for two years.
The Reverend Forest Prosser, Tennessee-Georgia Presbytery, was elected the Moderator of the 183rd. General Assembly.
The theme of the Church for the next year is "Sharing Your Story" based on Acts 4:20. II Corinthians 4:7-12 is another scripture supporting the theme. Local congregations are encouraged to give your members the opportunity to share personal stories affirming God's assistance in various aspects of their lives. The theme offers a marvelous preaching opportunity for all pastors.
Unification with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America is one of the most important opportunities facing the two Denominations. We have one heritage, share the Confession of Faith, and union will provide a much better witness to the world. Hopefully a preliminary plan of union will be presented to each Denomination in the General Assemblies in 2014. Both Churches will be meeting at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Presbyteries are requested to have presentations in the fall meeting of 2013 and in the spring meeting in 2014. In 2014 synods are encouraged to have a general synod with the corresponding synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, to participate in workshops, dialogue with each other, enjoy the fellowship and worship. In 2007 the Ministry Council was assigned the task of recommending priority goals for the Denomination; however, with the strong likelihood that there will be a union with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, decided to postpone the consideration of priority goals until the union is complete.
Determined that Central America will be our mission focus for the next few years.
Authorized the Missions Ministry Team to provide direction for new congregations until they are attached to a presbytery.
In 1987 the General Assembly affirmed that presbyteries could authorize ministers of other Denominations to preside over Communion; this decision was rescinded this year. The majority of presbyteries have on their rolls ministers without charge, retirees, hospital, and hospice chaplains, thus the presbyteries are encouraged to utilize these persons. For congregations without the services of an ordained minister, the session may designate two active elders requesting the presbytery to authorize and train them for presiding over Communion.
For 2014 adopted an Our United Outreach goal of $2,900,000. The Reverend Cliff Hudson has been employed to promote giving to Our United Outreach as well as endowment funds.
Approved a Capital Funds Campaign for Memphis Theological Seminary, with the amount to be determined by the Board of Trustees of the Seminary. A few years ago, a non Cumberland Presbyterian, gave one million dollars to apply on building a chapel; a part of the funds raised in the campaign will be used to build a chapel. The seminary also needs to reduce its debts, increase its endowments, and begin planning for more class rooms.
The Reverend Robert D. Prosser announced that he would retire as President of Bethel University at the end of July. The General Assembly expressed appreciation to the Reverend Mr. Prosser and encouraged the Board of Trustees to seek a successor, who has a deep understanding and appreciation for Bethel's history, church relationship and regional mission.
The Board of Trustees of the Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home is seeking an executive director, as Rev. Kevin Henson left the position March One. Appreciation was extended to the Reverend Mr. Henson.
Each congregation is encouraged to adopt a "Safe Sanctuary Policy"
Approved a memorial from Red River Presbytery requesting that the Board of Stewardship, Finance and Benefits to notify the presbytery if one of its member congregations has a loan with the Board and is two months or more in arrears in payments.
Robert D. Rush