This General Assembly is like no other. It is our first virtual assembly. But not by choice — because of pandemic-times. Instead of coming to you from the floor of the Assembly in Baltimore, Maryland, I am at home in Ohio, joining virtually, like the almost 1,000 other participants in the 224th General Assembly.
And it has already caused quite a shift in things.
The Committee on Business Referral saw the challenges coming with attempting to do all this business on a digital platform, and so last night as the Assembly convened at 7pm, a variety of preliminary organizational motions came to the floor (adopting rules to function virtually, adopting a docket that simplifies the schedule, only dealing with essential business, etc.)
Not surprisingly, that took quite a bit of time. So much so, the election of a new moderator did not happen as planned, and has been rescheduled for tonight at 7pm. It was well past 11pm, before the docket was changed and a previously unscheduled meeting for 7pm tonight was slated.
Part of the reason for the delay was a number of commissioners whose voices began to rise up, talking about silenced voices because of the pair-down. And while the Assembly ultimately streamlined and took most of the suggestions from the Committee on Business Referrals, I was already getting a sense of this Assembly – and a hungry to speak powerfully to the other global pandemic that is afoot in our land – a pandemic of systemic racism, poverty, and ecological devastation that is continuing to tear us apart as people in this country.
I will be providing updates throughout the Assembly, which convened yesterday evening, June 19, and will continue through June 27.
I encourage you to join the Assembly as it broadcasts live this evening and the Assembly elects a new set of co-moderators.: https://ga-pcusa.org/
I also encourage those of you who are interested in the work of the Assembly to visit PC-Biz which is the digital portal to find the docket, and all the business items: https://www.pc-biz.org/
Our leadership has encouraged us to be a part of the Poor People’s Campaign Virtual March on Washington in their National Call to Moral Revival that is currently happening today. Perhaps you have seen the Watch Parties on Facebook, and my posts encouraging you to join me for that. These reflections will most certainly weave into this Assembly.
Furthermore, and most importantly, I encourage you to join in prayer, to pray for all the commissioners of the Assembly, but particularly our commissioners, Tom Polker (Elder Commissioner, from Napoleon, OH – pictured below), Cathi King (Minister Commissioner, from Tecumseh, MI), and Chloe Smith (Young Adult Advisory Commissioner, from FPC Defiance, OH).
May the Spirit of Almighty God be with us.