Presbyterians take action at general assembly

July 25, 2022

At the 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), held from June 18 to July 9 at the Presby­terian Center in Louisville, Kentucky, the following actions were taken:

Fossil fuel divestment

The general assembly approved ENV-10 calling for divestment from five oil and gas companies: Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero Energy. The assembly said the companies were not doing enough to slow global warming. Presbyterian Committee for Mission Responsibility through Investment reports that this is the first time the PC(USA) has voted to divest from companies out of compliance with the general assembly’s environmental policies, which were established in 2018.

Gun violence

The general assembly approved a motion that the church renew its commitment to end gun violence by developing a ten-year campaign, the Decade to End Gun Violence. The assembly also voted to direct Mission Re­sponsibility through Investment to engage with Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kroger—three publicly traded companies held by either the Board of Pensions or Presbyterian Foundation that sell guns not classified as semiautomatic or assault-based weapons.

Immigration and sanctuary status

By a vote of 340–25, the general assembly approved IMM-06, allowing the PC(USA) to declare itself a “Sanctuary and Accompaniment Church.” The as­sembly’s Immigration Committee says the decision sends a message that the PC(USA) is committed to working for justice in US immigration policy.

Israel/Palestine

The general assembly voted 266–116 to approve INT-02, “On Recognition that Israel’s Laws, Policies, and Prac­tices Constitute Apartheid against the Palestinian People.” It declares that the PC(USA) recognizes “that the government of Israel’s laws, policies, and practices regarding the Palestinian people fulfill the international legal definition of apartheid.”

Race and gender justice

Commissioners and advisory delegates approved several items of business from the Race and Gender Justice Committee, including RGJ-07, which addresses the lack of installed pastoral leadership in congregations of color, and  RGJ-08, which offers African Americans an apology for the “sin of slavery” and its legacy.

The assembly also approved RGJ-12, which calls for a new special committee to expose White supremacy within the denomination and make recommendations for improvement.

In addition, the assembly approved RGJ-13, directing the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation to “create educational resources for congregations to identify and interrupt practices and policies that perpetuate the adultifi­cation of Black girls and criminalization of adolescent behavior.”

Commissioners and advisory delegates passed a resolution, RGJ-14, denouncing violence against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. —Presbyterian News Service