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June Pastor's Note

I am looking forward to serving as a Commissioner to General Assembly later this month, and grateful for Lizzy Healy to have the opportunity to serve as a Young Adult Advisory Delegate. General Assembly meets every other year, with Teaching Elder Commissioners and Ruling Elder Commissioners in equal numbers, and Youth Advisory Delegates from each Presbytery. Mission Advisory Delegates, Ecumenical Advisory Delegates, and Theological Student Advisory Delegates round out those who get some level of voice and vote in committees and in plenary sessions.


The last “normal” GA was in 2018, and Rick Comstock was one of the Ruling Elder Commissioners from Shenandoah. In 2020, GA met entirely on Zoom, and all but the necessary business items were tabled until the next GA could meet in 2022. That year, Teresa Harris and Mark Facknitz served as Shenandoah Presbytery’s two Ruling Elder Commissioners. Committees met in person, and the plenary was all on Zoom. This year, Committees will meet on Zoom, and we will gather in person in Salt Lake City for the plenaries.


There is quite a bit of prep work required, and we have already had a few meetings and/or trainings, with more to come, even before the Committee work officially begins on June 25th. The Book of Order is clear that those who are elected to the councils of the church are not simply representatives of the electing bodies. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and we trust that the Holy Spirit is at work when the body of Christ gathers together to listen and discern where God is leading us. I’ve heard from many different commissioners over the years who have experienced the powerful movement of the Holy Spirit at the GA. Though we could easily become ensconced in our ideological camps, the Holy Spirit frees us to leave those trenches, and trust that God is at work, leading us now and into the future.


You can also participate! The homepage for access is https://ga-pcusa.org/. Worship and business meetings will be live-streamed there. If you are interested in following along with the business, you can see all of the items that will be deliberated in committee, and then on the plenary floor, at https://www.pc-biz.org/. It can be a bit tricky to navigate, but it’s all there! You can even register as an online observer, at no cost. https://ga-pcusa.org/observer-registration/ Information sessions and Town Halls will also be held over the next few weeks: https://ga-pcusa.org/info-sessions-town-hall/. Every committee is required to hold public hearings, and anyone is able to submit a request to speak through this link: https://ga-pcusa.org/public-hearings/ Committee meetings and plenaries will all be live-streamed, and there is no need to register to view them, but registrants also have access to much of the same information that we will have access to as commissioners.


Whether you follow what’s happening at GA closely or not at all, we welcome your prayers. We will be traveling June 28-29 and July 4-5, and appreciate prayers for traveling mercies. We also welcome your prayers for Shenandoah’s delegation, including TEC David Witt and RECs Denise Rouse and Pam Snyder, and for the whole gathered body, as we seek to discern God’s will together.


Grace and peace,

Stephanie

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