In the past couple of weeks I have watched as the impact of the General Assembly decisions start to hit close to home. This has come up in conversations that I did not expect them to come up in, and each startled me. First off from the people that it came from and the reaction of these individuals. I admit I have been having trouble coming to terms of the entirety of what is going on. Through my own discerning process, some of the issues I have come to my own decision. But it is not only me, a candidate for ministry and a leader in my local church that is debating the issues from the previous General Assembly. Our own Presbytery early this year formed a Task Force to deal with some of these issues both theologically and its impact within our Presbytery. At the next Presbytery meeting we will be setting some time aside to discuss this. Our Session last night and in prior meetings have discussed what the implications meant to us as a whole. It seems that the denomination is getting riled up. In some ways I am excited that no longer is there a “them” and “us”, that some meaningful dialogue may take place.
What i am most grateful for is the Jack Haber the editor of the Presbyterian Outlook has put together a group of editorials to each group. I found them fascinating.
If you have not figured it out from my previous posts, I have spent the past seven days at General Assembly with SFTS. I was surprised today when I got a text from Ron to come up to the Assembly floor. Where I watch the Assembly is in a classroom on the other side of the convention center. Not because I cannot be on the floor, but this way I can talk through the procedures and happening more than on the floor. One can only handle being shusshed so many times. Anyways Ronnie texts me that I need to meet up with him. He shows me the a brochure that is being distributed from the denomination about Hearts and Hands. On it is Kett (AKA Jessica Woods) and my son. He is famous. Shouldn’t we get some royalty or something for it?
My background in attending conferences have been mostly through Youth Specialties among several others. Those conference tended to have more than a little bit of energy in it. Whether that is through finger darts or a constant state of “one up one ship” between exhibit booths. Well, not so much here at GA. Just not anybody can be a “central” part of the Assembly. At its very core is representatives from 174 Presbyteries or Regional bodies that get to actually vote. Around them are different lobbing groups, observers, Presbyterian staff, and then there is me… a student observer.
While I am used to a bunch of running around and energy, this is a bit different. There is energy as groups are hopeful for the delegates to bring about change, whether it is more liberal or conservative. The enormity of what happens here is great. In many ways it is like what I imagine the US government to be like in a smaller context. What happens here affects every PCUSA congregation from rural Iowa to Los Angeles. At last nights class session we were talking about looking for the Holy Spirit in the midst of this Assembly. Should be interesting.