One of my responsibilities as moderator is to report to the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) as this is where the moderator’s office is lodged. Below is the one-pager that helped us get started in on some good conversation about my time and the general role and responsibilities of the moderator.
MODERATOR’S REPORT // bruce reyes-chow
the committee on the general assembly, october 2008
Generally Speaking: Being moderator has been a wonderful experience allowing me the privilege of interaction with the church in new ways. My understanding of the church has greatly been expanded as well as some my assumptions about movements in the church have been affirmed.
Technology: By far the most exciting part of my time has been the growing use of technology in my role as moderator. As of this date, there are nearly 3,000 people who are part of the Facebook Moderator group, my blogs received over 4,000 hits per week and I think there is a greater sense of accessibility that the church has to their moderator. I have also been using Youtube and other online video services to provide visual greetings and places interaction.
Town Halls: In addition to using technology to interact with the church, I have been holding town halls in each venue that I have traveled in order to further listen to the church as well as speak back to the church some of what I have been hearing, thinking, etc. Surprisingly, very little has been asked about issues of sexuality with most interest being about the future of the church, the denomination and our collective place and role in the world.
Movements: I am sensing a genuine yearning from the church to be the church in new and passionate ways. I sense there is a great movement in the church that is coming from outside traditional “camps” that are organized around some kind of theological polarity. What I am calling the “third church” is beginning to not simply live under the radar of church politics, but to show up, speak up and take their rightful place at the table.
Traveling the Terrain: While I believe that the denomination of the future will be much more fluid than simple liberal/conservative polemics, I do not underestimate many of the current structures that hold great influence in the church that are indeed structured around these worldviews. With this in mind, I have been diligent in my interactions with those on all sides of current conflicts. This takes place on various blogs and online communities as well as face-to-face interactions at various events and gatherings.
Appointments: With over 100 appointments to make and greatly underestimating the level of interested and time to thoroughly go through the more than 400 submissions, making these appointments has taken far longer than hoped. While some of this has to do with two task forces needing to be appointed by three moderators, the others are simply caught up in my inability to get this done. It is my hope to have these finalized by the end of October.
Life Rhythms: I am still figuring this out as I balance the three major pulls on my life and ministry: family, local congregation and moderatorial duties. Most has gone very well, but I think the shift to a two-year term combined with my accessibility has created a greater perception of my availability and time commitment.
Thank You’s: I want to give a special thanks to Joyce Evans in Louisville and Abby King Kaiser, my local assistant, as we have learned together the nuances and complexities of supporting the office of the moderator.
FOR FUTURE THOUGHT
- What further adjustments need to be made for two-year moderator term?
- What adjustments need to be made to the vice-moderator process?
- What is the importance/role of the moderator beyond General Assembly?
- Post election orientation: appointments, administration, communication, travel process, etc.