Opening Worship and Sederunt One

The 2022 General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada took place online for the second year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Assembly began on Sunday, June 5, with worship led by the Rev. Dr. Daniel D. Scott, Moderator of the 2021 General Assembly, and participation from members of Richmond Presbyterian Church in Richmond, B.C., with music by the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal.

The text for Dr. Scott’s sermon, entitled “Back to the Garden,” was based on Genesis 3:20–4:2 and Acts 2:42–47. As Adam and Eve longed to get back to the Garden of Eden, so the church has longed to return to the days when churches were full, church schools were large and the church mattered more to Canadian society. Adam and Eve learned that it wasn’t their actions that effected change, but God’s. In the Book of Acts, it was not the early church that added to their own numbers as the church grew, it was God who caused the church to grow. And the same can be said of the PCC—it’s not our church, it is God’s, and God cares and tends it. God is our refuge and our strength. Let that bring us peace.”

Thanking the Rev. Dr. Daniel D. Scott

The Assembly unanimously expressed thanks for the service of the Rev. Dr. Daniel D. Scott for his service as Moderator. It was noted that Dan was “an encouragement and a true ambassador for Christ’s church. Dan loves the church and, in his own words, he is not alone in this love. Wherever he went, he found people with a profound love for the church and a passion for ministry. His final word of hope for the church is that when we are down, we need to share stories of hope for this is contagious.”

Gratitude was also expressed by the Assembly to St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Bradford West Gwillimbury, Ont., for their support during Dan’s time as Moderator, as well as to groups, congregations and church partners who welcomed the Moderator.

Installation of the New Moderator

The Rev. Dr. Bob Faris, associate minister at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was elected and installed as the Moderator of the 2022 General Assembly.

During his opening reflections, Bob thanked his partner, Redha, and other family members for their support. He also expressed his thanks for the support he received from the congregation he serves and the presbyteries that nominated him. He pointed out that the stole he wore was a gift from the Presbytery of East Toronto and was made by the Rev. Deb Stanbury of ARISE Ministry.

Bob spoke directly to people who identify as LGBTQI, saying: “All of our stories are different as we learned so powerfully in Rainbow Communion. I recognize my nomination and now installation marks an historic moment in The Presbyterian Church in Canada for all of us. I pray this will be one more step in the journey of recognizing that God’s love includes all of us, and that whoever we are, we are part of the body of Christ, each with gifts to share. I pray God will give me the grace to fulfill the duties of this office.”

Bob called for kindness and respect in our discussions and openness to the grace of Christ.

Atlantic Mission Society Report

The Atlantic Mission Society reported that they continued to provide financial support to local, regional and international mission work, including the Atlantic Synod camp and two presbytery summer camps. The Presbyterian Message was published nine times, connecting the society with each other and the wider church through monthly devotions, prayer, mission studies and information about local, national and international events. Meetings continued to be held by Zoom, which had the added benefit of saving expenses to meet in person. $60,000 of invested shares were sold to support Presbyterians Sharing, PWS&D, Canadian Ministries, International Ministries and the Priorities for Mission Fund.

The Rev. Dr. Bob Faris and his partner, Redha, and the Rev. Dr. Daniel Scott and his wife, Kelly

The Rev. Dr. Bob Faris, Moderator of the 2022 General Assembly (second to left), his partner Redha (far left), the Rev. Dr. Daniel Scott, Moderator of the 2021 General Assembly (second from right) and his wife, Kelly Willams Scott.

Their focus is shifting from doing the mission work, to focus on education and empowering the whole church to engage in mission. This includes groups leading worship on Presbyterians Sharing and PWS&D Sundays, providing education and opportunities to engage in local mission, Gifts of Change and other projects. While the way they do mission work is changing, they are steadfast in their determination to share Christ’s love with the world.

Women’s Missionary Society Report

The WMS meets regularly online. With the changes in staff, as well as to simplify the format for virtual meetings, the structure of the Council Executive was streamlined so all matters were dealt with by the committee-as-a-whole. Sadly, the Women’s Gathering 2022 was cancelled, however, a successful Come Together Series, which allowed people to learn about mission-related topics online, was conceived. Speakers came from the Mid India Board of Education, the Graduate School for Nurses in India, Action Réfugiés Montréal, World Day of Prayer, Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana, The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Bible translation work in Taiwan, the Centre for Minority Issues in Japan, the Kenora Fellowship Centre, the Church of North India, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Zomba Theological College and Church of Central Africa, Malawi. They also were able to celebrate Pauline Brown’s 70th anniversary in India.

Grants were given from endowment funds to a variety of PWS&D and PCC projects. The mission study topic for 2021–2022 was on the Together We Can! projects: Action Réfugiés Montréal and the MIBE Graduate School for Nurses in Indore, India.

General Assembly was adjourned until Monday, June 6 at 2 p.m. (Eastern). Subscribe to the PCC’s YouTube channel to be notified when the live stream begins.

To see the results of the Assembly’s discernment from today, visit PC-Biz in the “Agendas” tab. Use the drop-down to find the committee report, such as the Business Committee, and you’ll see the Assembly action for each item.