In a special called virtual meeting in December 2020, the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) voted on behalf of the General Assembly to change the time and place of the 2023 General Assembly. In 2023, the General Assembly will meet in Louisville, KY, from July 29 to August 1, 2023.*
In 2019, the invitation was extended by the Christian Church in Kentucky and approved by the 2019 General Assembly (GA-1918) to hold the 2021 General Assembly in Louisville, KY. Also in 2019, the invitation was extended by the Christian Church in Tennessee and approved by the 2019 General Assembly (GA-1919) to hold the 2023 General Assembly in Memphis, TN.
In the late spring of 2020, the moderator team of the General Assembly, the General Minister and President, and the staff of the Office of General Minister and President (OGMP) began discussion of whether the 2021 General Assembly could be held due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On July 19, 2020, at a special called meeting of the General Board acting on behalf of the General Assembly, the 2021 General Assembly was cancelled (GB-20-1156).
In the fall of 2020, Louisville’s team approached the OGMP with a proposal to hold the 2023 General Assembly in Louisville from Saturday, July 29 to Tuesday, August 1, 2023, with the understanding that the deposit paid for 2021 be applied to 2023, and that all 2021 cancellation fees will be waived. After careful review of many options, the moderator team determined that in order to be good stewards of the church’s resources, the best course of action would be to move the 2023 Assembly from Memphis to Louisville.
“While we are disappointed that we will not be hosting the assembly in 2023, we also understand the reasons,” said Dr. Christal Williams, regional minister for Tennessee. “We look forward to supporting Kentucky and we will host the Church at another time.”
“I am grateful for the region’s flexibility and graciousness in making this change,” said Rev. Terri Hord Owens, general minister and president. “I want Memphis to be at the top of our list as we plan future gatherings.”
Rev. Dean Phelps, interim regional minister in Kentucky, also expressed support for the change. “We had adjusted regional timelines for staffing searches and retirements to accommodate hosting the General Assembly next summer or in 2025, but we are willing to make this work. We’ll be counting on surrounding regions to lend their expertise. We look forward to welcoming Disciples back to their roots, back home to Kentucky.”
No decision has yet been made regarding the time or place for any assemblies beyond 2023.
“After this difficult time apart,” said moderator Belva Brown Jordan, “it will be good to gather in Louisville in 2023 to worship together and do the work of the Church.”
* The authority to take this action can be found in the Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), paragraph 55: “Between meetings of the General Assembly, the General Board may take interim action with established policy of the General Assembly on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), subject in all matters to a review of its action by the subsequent General Assembly.”