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As coordinator of the Church of North India's HIV/AIDS program, which focuses on women, youth, refugees, drug addicts and prison inmates, Karuna Roy, an ecumenical visitor to assembly, works with those infected and affected by the virus and designs prevention programs. Of India's one billion people, there are 5.1 million cases of HIV/AIDS, although Roy said the government figures are on the low side, and that tripling the number gives a more accurate picture.
As the seven-year FLAMES initiative comes to a close, the Assembly decided to follow with a Sabbath year, beginning Dec. 3, 2006, the first day of Advent. To lay the groundwork for this time of prayer, reflection and worship in all aspects of the church's life and ministry, a year of preparation will begin on Nov. 27.
The Presbyterian Church signed a covenant with the Hungarian Reformed Church, linking the two as partners in mission. Moderator Jean Morris and Rev. Ian Morrison, General Secretary of the Life and Mission Agency, witnessed the document for the Canadian church.
The Synod of Toronto and Kingston was renamed the Synod of Central, Northeastern Ontario and Bermuda, despite some questions about grammar.
Reports to future assemblies will be posted on the church's website when the documents are sent to commissioners.
The 132nd assembly will be held in St. Catharines, Ont., hosted by the Presbytery of Niagara.
Former moderator and director of Presbyterian World Service & Development, Rev. Rick Fee, will replace Rev. Ian Morrison as the new General Secretary of the Life and Mission Agency as of Sept. 1. "I am only one part of the body and I'll rely on the entire denomination to carry out the life and mission of the church," said Fee.
The Towards a World Without AIDS campaign, led by Presbyterian World Service & Development and initiated by Rick Fee at last year's assembly, has been extended for another year. The national campaign has raised $434,000 of its $500,000 target.
The moderator will also write the Minister for International Cooperation welcoming the government's recent increase in foreign aid, but urging it to reach the international target of 0.7 per cent of national GDP by 2015.
Ten members of the Women's Missionary Society will journey to Japan on June 15. They will attend the annual meeting of the Korean Christian Church in Japan.
Congregations were urged to designate one Sunday in May, 2006 to highlight planned giving.
Joy Randall received a minute of appreciation in honour of her service as a missionary nurse to the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. She is retiring after 36 years of service.
Rev. Dr. Clyde Ervine was granted tenure as director of pastoral studies at Presbyterian College, Montreal. Rev. Dr. Calvin A. Pater, who is retiring form Knox College after 27 years, received a minute of appreciation from the assembly.
St. Paul's, Glace Bay, made its final loan payment on March 23, canceling a $1.1 million loan. The joyous event, commemorated by a thanksgiving service in May, marked the end of a debt that existed since 1993. St. Paul's paid $600,000 towards the loan, negotiated through PCBC and the Royal Bank, and the Presbyterian Church raised $569,172. More than two million pancakes were served in the last 12 years to raise funds. "The people of Glace Bay know what it means to live in a Christian family," said Rev. Lloyd Murdoch. "For them, that is the family of the PCC." A motion was passed to express gratitude to the national church, the PCBC, the synod of the Atlantic provinces and the presbytery of Cape Breton.
Following assembly's approval of the Presbyterian Record board's nominations, the Record has named two new members, and one returning to its board of directors. Joining the board are Mary Chudley and Sandra Demson; Gordon Higgins returns after serving a one-year interim appointment. The Record has nine directors who serve three-year terms, plus the moderator of the day.
The late Rev. Dr. T. Melville Bailey was honoured by the committee on history by renaming its annual history prize after the founder and former minister of Southgate Church, Hamilton. The Rev. Dr. T. Melville Bailey History Prize is awarded to an individual for the publication of a congregation's history. This year's award went to John Moir for his book, Unto the Hills Around, a history of St.Andrew's,Ottawa.
Rev. Dr. John A. Johnston was named curator of the National Presbyterian Museum in Toronto.
The revisions to chapter nine of the Book of Forms is now complete. It will be sent down under the Barrier Act for reply to next year's assembly. Peter Ruddell, convener, was thanked for his hard work on this task.
Presbyteries located within a reasonable distance were encouraged to promote Crieff Hills Community as the preferred location for seminars, retreats and regional educational events.
The Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee was given the go-ahead to continue its dialogue on issues of common interest, ministry and concern with the Christian Reformed Church.
Rev. Pil-Soon Kim is a member of the Korean Christian Church in Japan, one of the world's smallest denominations with only 6,000 members. Now studying at Knox College (sponsored by International Ministries), and as an ecumenical visitor to the General Assembly, Kim spoke of how the church has helped her re-claim her Korean heritage."Koreans are still recognized as aliens in Japan. Their dreams become diminished or abandoned," she said. "Since coming to Canada, I've realized the significance of your ministries. My dream for the KCCJ is to grow up and comfort others and go forward hand in hand with the Presbyterian Church for justice and peace in Christ."
The moderator will encourage the federal government to develop a national water policy to ensure a nationwide ban on the commercial export of bulk water and exempt water from the provisions of NAFTA; to help ensure that services for water for personal and domestic use not be bound by the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade and Services; that the government not support mandatory privatization of public water services as a condition for access to loans from the World Bank; and that the government of Canada affirm that access to clean, safe water for personal and domestic use is a basic human right.
Dialogue between the Presbyterian Church and the Christian Reformed Church of North America began about a year ago. Rev. Richard Vander Vaart addressed the assembly as a representative of that denomination. "Speaking together is not an option," he said. "We are called to do so by Jesus Christ. The world needs to hear our voice." He commended the participation of the young adult representatives at the assembly. "They're not the future of the church," he contended, "they're the church with you right now."