The most significant action of the 105th General Assembly of the 938,000-member Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (Southern), meeting at Montreat, North Carolina, in late April, was the decision to move resolutely ahead with plans for organic union with the Reformed Church in America. If the General Synod of the Reformed Church, due to meet in early June, also gives its assent, a joint committee of twenty-four (twelve from each denomination) will begin to formulate a plan of union. The General Assembly asked the committee to return with the plan by 1968.
Approval of the step toward merger with the Reformed Church, virtually all of whose 229,000 members reside in the North, came just after the standing committee on inter-church relations presented its recommendations in connection with proposals on relations with the 3,280,000-member United Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. The Synod of Virginia had sent an overture urging the assembly to name a committee of twelve to meet with a corresponding UPUSA committee to “explore the conditions that are before our churches today with a view to our reunion.” Two presbyteries of that synod had submitted similar proposals. The ensuing debate was vigorous and prolonged. Practically all the commissioners who participated on both sides were men known as having previously favored all moves toward reunion of all denominations in the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. Here the lines were clearly drawn between those favoring wider talks on church union and those determined to preserve the Reformed faith, and the latter gained an overwhelming victory.
The standing committee’s recommendation was “that Overtures 53, 54 and 56 should be answered in the negative; that our church continue to explore ...1
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