Reflections on the 225th General Assembly
The 225th General Assembly of the PCUSA wrapped up its first hybrid meeting last month and we asked a few of our presbytery commissioners to reflect on their experience. GA commissioners, Robin Clardy and Emily Fuentes, respond to questions from the Presbytery of Los Ranchos and give us insight into the process and the heart of what it means to serve our denomination at this level.
PLR: What was most rewarding about your GA experience?
Emily: Being that this was a hybrid GA, I wasn’t expecting to make as many personal connections as I did. I’m grateful for the connections I made with folks on GA Twitter (which led to after hour zoom meet-ups), folks in my committee, and, of course, my fellow Los Ranchos Commissioners. I really appreciated their views and perspectives and kept making friends from the Philadelphia Presbytery 🙂
Robin: I found the in-person committee work to be quite rewarding. The Standing Rules Committee’s work on the thirty-one overtures brought by the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) was vital. These overtures were years in the making. COGA sought to update the ecclesial work of the General Assembly with the goal of broad access to all. This meant in-depth discussions around race, gender identity, and sexual orientation, as well as resource equity for GA commissioners, General Assembly committees, and task groups.
PLR: What did you find challenging?
Emily: I definitely wish more could have been in person but I’m thankful safety was considered first.
Robin: The online plenaries were, at times, challenging. Navigating twelve-hour days, operating by Roberts Rules of Order through Zoom with 550 people online was demanding. The denomination has worked hard to create platforms that make it more manageable.
PLR: What is your overall impression of the process and the decisions made?
Emily: GA did a lot of good, hard and historic work and I’m thankful for the chance to be a part of it. I look forward to sharing more in-depth when we’re together at Presbytery
Robin: I was proud of the work done at the 225th General Assembly. The GA co-moderators did an excellent job balancing the need to keep the plenaries going while allowing for the most voices to be expressed. The Assembly dealt with complex and controversial topics and, for the most part, voted in a way that was the best for the whole denomination.
PLR: Is there anything else about the experience on your mind or heart?
Robin: It would be my desire that all might get a chance to attend a future General Assembly. I find it to be an honor to come together to discern the will of God for the denomination. It is no small thing.