Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hope Abounding: GA Day 1

Before I get too far behind, I'd like to go ahead and post what I meant to post yesterday.

Yesterday (June 14th), was the official start to General Assembly. We began with a wonderful worship service which consisted of beautiful music and an excellent sermon by the moderator of the 220th General Assembly, Neal Presa. When I say beautiful music, I mean varied and diverse music with a choir, an orchestra, bagpipes, and worship leaders. Neal Presa spoke about unity within our denomination by bringing the focus back on Jesus. He reminded us that we all share the love of Christ because, as hard as we try, "only God can make things right."

At the beginning of the day, I received a rainbow scarf from a group called More Light Presbyterians, who represent the interests of the LGBTQ community. At first, I was nervous to wear it because I thought it would make me be seen as unapproachable. However, so many people have been wearing them that they represent more of a recognition of love for all people, rather than a political movement.

After lunch, the exhibit hall absolutely drained my introvert batteries. I'll have to be more careful about that in the future. The room just had so many people that it wore me out real fast. With a schedule so packed, it becomes really easy to forget to take care of one's basic needs. I'm learning that I'll just need to excuse myself sometimes and go off on my own.

Our first plenary session was not very exciting--it was a lot of going over procedure which the YAADs had done already. I think because I am an older YAAD (the age range is from 17-23, which is quite an age gap), I feel a little frustrated that we had an entire day booked from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with essentially no breaks to cover information that we would learn the next day in plenary. Perhaps the concern is that YAADs will be under more of a spotlight than than the commissioners. I guess I just wish that we had gone on a tour of Detroit rather than having so many group sessions. That could have been our home group activity instead!

The second plenary session, on the other hand, where we voted on the moderator for the assembly was extremely exciting. We had a lot of technical difficulties; the most aggravating of which was when the advisory delegates were forced to raise hands to advise the commissioners on their choice for moderator. I really did not like being forced to show my choice for candidate--I much prefer remaining anonymous.

Honestly, all of the moderator candidates were impressive, but Heath Rada, the one who was ultimately elected, impressed me the most. He seems like just what the church needs--someone openminded, yet whose goal is to keep the church as whole as possible. He's also very well qualified and equipped for the job and his vice moderator brings to the table whatever Heath lacks. They make a very complementary team.

For more constant updates on the goings on at General Assembly, look me up on Twitter @RachelMiles6. Also, sorry this is so poorly written, I'm too exhausted to edit very well and I'm trying to keep y'all updated.

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