Last week, the PC(USA) had its “big meeting”. What we call General Assembly, others call convention, or some other collective. The assembly was convened on Saturday, June 21 and adjourned Saturday, June 28. During that week there were over a 1000 pieces of business. There were more than 700 commissioners working long hours in committee, and on the floor of the plenary session. There were many watching the plenary sessions via live streaming video on the internet. There were many, like me, participating in live blogs (think published chat room), commenting on the votes, the commissioners, the decisions, really anything while watching the video.
Luckily, because of our gracious employers, (Community Presbyterian and First Presbyterian) my wife and I were able to attend the first weekend of the assembly. We were able to witness two of my favorite things about general assembly, the moderator elections and worship. (they are in that order chronologically not in interest)
As for the election, Bruce Reyes-Chow, one of my “imaginary friends”, was elected moderator on the second ballot. He is the pastor at Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco. There have been many, more articulate and well written descriptions. (Click Here)
I want to talk about my experience. Heidi and I were invited to sit with the MBCC community to watch the election, by Marc Jung, an elder at MBCC, (someone who we had met about an hour before). The moderator election is always tense, but as I listened to the answers of the four candidates I couldn’t help but feel inspired by Bruce. The energy around the people I was sitting with was palpable and the joy that they shared with their pastor was a true vision (of what I beleive t0 be) community. Diffferent ages, different interests, coming together for one thing. I thank the MBCC community for allowing Heidi and I to share their joy of the moderator election with them and their pastor.
The worship was once again amazing. It is hard to describe the feelings that consume me when I am in a worship service that moves me. There is something about a couple of thousand people singing good music with gusto. There was so much to talk about, a convicting sermon, enlivening music, diverse participation, honoring of chaplains, and missionaries (of all stripes). It short, it was awesome.
Another great thing about this year’s general assembly was the fact that I got to meet face to face many people that I have “known” through internet conversations for at least two years. (imaginary friends) It was great to finally but faces to names and even to voices. Here are some links to people that were there as press, commissioners, observers, that did a wonderful job of covering the assembly from a bunch of different perspectives. (Steve Salyards, Jim Bonewald, Shawn Coons, Brian Merritt, Adam Walker Cleaveland, Bruce Reyes-Chow, John Bolt, the list goes on…)
Finally, here is a one page summary of what happened at general assembly put together by The GA Junkie (Steve Salyards). Link. Here are some other summaries that I liked, from Decent Hills and Orderly Hollows, The Church Geek, and The Presbyterian Outlook.
BTW I also got to see my dad, which is always a good time and probably one the things I like most about general assembly, it is a family reunion for me.