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SPECIAL PCUSA GA REPORT - July 26, 2012

PPL GA Team
PPL GA Team members provide a pro-life presence at 220th GA

GA actions and attitudes on abortion spark Facebook posts


by Marie
Bowen

One Facebook post summed up GA actions on life this way:

"In the PC(USA), you are condemned if you spank your child, but are free to kill the child in the womb..."

Similar comments to the one above were simultaneously posted by several observers at the 220th General Assembly when by a vote of 334/306/9, the assembly approved a recommendation encouraging PC(USA) members to "adopt discipline methods... that do not include corporal punishment of their children."

One commissioner noted that 'corporal punishment' is mandated in Scripture (Proverbs 13:24) while abortion-the taking of a human life is prohibited (Exodus 20:13). The PC(USA) clearly no longer looks to Scripture as their authority for faith and life. Read more

Late, late night abortion decisions
Conversation at PPL Booth
Booth conversations provide opportunities for dialogue and ministry, often with those who disagree with PPL's positions
There was little doubt at this assembly that the definition of marriage and divestment in the Middle East upstaged other weighty matters at the 220th General Assembly of the PC(USA). Ordination requirements, changes to mid-council structure, per capita, and rules about how business comes to the assembly received little attention in spite of their potential to bring major positive change to the denomination.

Discussion of abortion coverage in the Board of Pensions plan, advocacy for abortion access, and advocacy for government funding of abortion caused barely a ripple in the fabric of the Assembly. Actions taken by commissioners on those items of business were only covered by the briefest mention by one or two news sources.

Read more.
PPL GA Newsletter
Daily Delivery, a GA newsletter witnesses to the value of life in the womb
What actions were taken on abortion?

Commissioners quickly disapproved two items with potential for turning the PC(USA) toward a more Biblically faithful stance on abortion.

Item 20-02 asked the Board of Pensions to provide a Medical Benefits Plan that does not cover abortion. It was disapproved by a vote of 438 to 178 with 9 abstaining.

Stubborn resistance to studying abortion from theological perspective
Commissioner Carl Batzel, from Lackawanna Presbytery, hoped for the PC(USA) to have a fresh start on abortion. Read more.
Advocacy for abortion access softened, but not averted
PPL Booth in GA Exhibit Hall
PPL Booth sheds light on the truth that life in the womb is precious to God

An advocacy overture (Item 21-03) for publicly funded, unlimited access to contraception and abortion services was heavily amended in committee. Commissioner, Rev. Justin Marple attempted to amend to delete divisive parts of the overture in plenary, but at nearly 1:00 am commissioners seemed to hear only two things: 1) Health Issues committee "worked so hard to find balanced language even though they were deeply divided," and 2) the 1992 policy is "awesome" and commissioners wanted to affirm that.

Unfortunately, the part of the 1992 policy that commissioners affirmed ... protects only the woman's decision to choose abortion and does nothing to protect life in the womb-also created in God's image and also a life for whom Christ died.

...The original overture from Albany Presbytery sought to place restrictive requirements on pregnancy centers while liberating abortion clinics from restrictions and advocating for public funding for the latter. Read more.

More GA Reports:
Theology Matters, GA Report by Karen Hudson

The Presbyterian Layman, Post-GA Issues Report

In This Issue
GA actions & attitudes on abortion
Late, late night abortion decisons
Actions taken on abortion
Advocacy for abortion access
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Praying with PPL

July 29 - August 4
1. Read Leviticus 4; Matthew 25; Hebrews 10
2. Pray and give thanks that God provided us with a Savior who is both divine and human; who meets the righteous requirements
of God's Holy law and satisfies His wrath.
3. Pray that our churches will be faithful in proclaiming the
sanctity of human life; faithfully teaching that our Savior is fully God; fully man; born of Mary (once Himself in the womb!).

August 5 - 11
1. Read Psalm 110; Isa. 53
2. Pray and give thanks that Jesus is our perfect Mediator; true God and a true, righteous man.
3. Pray with boldness, asking God to provide for PPL and its ministry to churches throughout the summer months.

August 12 - 18
1. Read Hebrews 11; Acts 16:11-15; Ephesians 2:1-10
2. Pray that God will raise up faithful men and women in the PCUSA who will boldly speak out on behalf of the unborn.
3. Pray for P.J. Southam, Terry Simm, and Di Lupton as they travel on behalf of PPL to the meeting of the Fellowship of Presbyterians (FOP) & Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO) in Colorado Springs. (Aug. 19-21)

August 19 - 25
1. Read Hebrews 1:1-4; John 1:1-18; Genesis 18;
Matthew 28:18-20
2. Pray for Pastors in the PCUSA that they will teach and preach the Scriptures, concerning how God has revealed Himself to us as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
3. Pray for Marie Bowen as she represents PPL at the Atlanta FOP/ECO meeting. (Aug. 22-24)
General Assembly in Pittsburgh was one of the most intense weeks I have ever experienced. I want to publicly thank my husband and my sons, Sean & Derek who used vacation time and/or worked overnight during GA because they believe with me that nothing the church says to the world is more important than how we value human life. Our message that God loves us and sent his Son, Jesus Christ to die for us will not ring true if we sacrifice the vulnerable lives of the unborn, the aged, the disabled, and the limited to convenience, economics, and social status. What Reformed and Presbyterian denominations say to the world about human life matters!

The Bowen family was not alone. We worked shoulder to shoulder with 28 PPL team members. They gave a week of their lives (some using precious vacation time) and coming at great personal expense to give testimony in committees, hand out newsletters in the hot sun, provide resources & hospitality to commissioners, write reports on committee and plenary work, and dialogue and minister in the exhibit booth. Others prayed for us or donated supplies for our hospitality suite. Still others gave an extra offering to support our GA effort.

If you share my family's conviction and the conviction of the PPL GA team about the importance of PPL's work, I hope you will join us in giving generously to continue this ministry beyond the PCUSA Assembly and into congregations in the broader Reformed and Presbyterian Community. We cannot do it without you. Please prayerfully consider becoming a regular supporter of PPL.

Yours in Christ for Life,
Marie Bowen
Executive Director
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