Magazine article The Christian Century

Presbyterians Elect New Leaders, Skip Fossil Fuel Divestment

Magazine article The Christian Century

Presbyterians Elect New Leaders, Skip Fossil Fuel Divestment

Article excerpt

THE GENERAL Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was marked by several firsts: it elected a black man for the 1.6-million-member denomination's top leadership role, chose comoderators for the general assembly, and added a confession from the Global South to the church's Book of Confessions.

Meeting June 18-25 in Portland, Oregon, delegates also voted 490-91 against immediate divestment from fossil fuels. Instead, they chose selective, phased-in divestment paired with corporate engagement.

And they also opted for a study of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement in the Israel-Palestine conflict, including opposition to it, rather than calling for an end to any support of BDS.

Delegates elected J. Herbert Nelson, director of the PCUSA Office of Public Witness, to a four-year term as stated clerk beginning August 1.

He said the denomination "is not dying, but I believe we are reforming. Only through the eyes of faith can we see beyond death."

Nelson succeeds Gradye Parsons, who is retiring after 37 years of ordained ministry.

The denomination, which is more than 90 percent white, also broke new ground by choosing comoderators of the assembly for the first time: T. …

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