Louisville, Kentucky (June 15-17, 1999)-The fabled old city of Louisville, Kentucky, played host to the 27th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). A total of 1239 commissioners from 643 churches gathered from across the nation, from Canada, and from overseas for the annual meeting.
Inside, the men were treated to plush accommodations at the Galt House Hotel. Outside, views of the Ohio River served as a constant reminder of the historic and strategic importance of the locale.
The sighting of a freight train lumbering over one of the railroad bridges evoked memories of the "Old Reliable," the Louisville & Nashville R. R.; the L&N's northern terminus had been here. A riverwalk afforded opportunity for churchmen to stroll, to enjoy fellowship with old friends, to meditate on the happenings of the day. The sound of rushing traffic on Interstate 64 was drowned out by calliope music on the Belle of Louisville, a steamboat replica plying the waters.
The steam-powered calliope on board the vessel belched puffs of steam as it produced melodies. Louisville's trans-sectional nature was evident from the selection of tunes: "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," followed by "Dixie."
Like the multiple bridges spanning the Ohio River, the PCA has tried to span a wide divide. Although the divisions within the denomination have sectional overtones, the theological and ideological differences are the most profound. And those lines of cleavage were brought into sharp relief at this year's Assembly.