The third overture to reach the 47th General Assembly concerns the worship services at that Assembly. The overture, which came from Northern New England Presbytery, calls for the following sentence to be added to the paragraph in the Rules of Assembly Operation (RAO) that governs those services:

“Those involved in the organization and leadership of times of corporate worship and prayer at General Assembly are to exercise godly prudence as they strive to ensure that all that is said and done at these gatherings gives expression to the unity of our church by providing an opportunity for all in attendance to call upon the Lord in sincerity and good conscience.”

The rationale for the overture cites concern over a corporate prayer used at a pre-Assembly prayer gathering that, the overture asserts, many disagreed with and therefore could not pray in good conscience. The pre-Assembly gathering is not governed by the RAO paragraph the overture seeks to change.

“Since prayer and worship are divine ordinances, it is important to guard against their misuse,” says Teaching Elder Andy Wilson, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church of Laconia, New Hampshire, whose session proposed the overture. “We think that this is an appropriate occasion to remind ourselves of this.”

The Overture has been referred to the Administrative Committee.