As I write this, I am just a few days away from completing my term as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). It is hard to believe that it was just two years ago that I was elected, but on Saturday night, as the General Assembly begins its business, a new moderator will be elected and I will add the word "former" to the front of my "moderator" designation.
What's General Assembly (GA)? Well . . . for those you who are new to this whole Presbyterian thing, GA for those of us who are interested and engaged in the life of the larger church, for the next week all attention will be focused on Minneapolis, MN as Presbyterians from across the country gather for our General Assembly, the biennial gathering of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
If you are interested in more info about this and/or want to follow along in a variety of ways, here are a vew helpful links:
- OFFICIAL STUFF – The official 219 GA site for business, to watch live-streaming and get all the official twitter and facebook links [here]. Be sure to check out the Social Media Policy. Prayers for all all the staff and volunteers.
- TWITTER – Many folks will be twittering the event. To avoide clogging my non-presby followers with Presbyterian stuff, I will twitter mostly through my live twitter feed [@brc_live]. You can also find many twitters on a list of folks that have said they will be there [@ga219]. Many of us are also using the hashtags #ga219 so you can add your voice to the larger conversation. And if you are feeling like making sure we do not take ourselves too seriously #presbynerdfest10 is finding some traction. Prayers for the varieties interaction had and community built.
- MODERATOR ELECTION: Of course, I am particularly interested in the election of the next Moderator. With six candidates standing for the office it should be really interesting. If you are interested in find out more you can go HERE and if you are a twitter person, you can find 7/12 moderator and vice moderator candidates on this twitter list. Lastly, if you really get into this election stuff, the Moderator election will be streamed live at 7:00pm on Saturday here. I will not be able to live tweet that time, but look forward to reading the stream afterwards. Prayers for all of the candidates during this final push.
- OTHER GOOD SITES: I have also found a couple of site of interest, so you should check [gahelp.net] from Robert Austell. He gives a pretty broad and balanced set of links and info – advocacy groups and issue background can be found here – to navigate the General Assembly. And if you really want some in depth analysis of al things Presbyterian, I point all folks over to GA Junkie. Prayers for the many who are giving of their gifts to the life of the church.
- NEW WEBSITE – For those Presbyterians who have lamented our denomination website, the new site has gone live – WWW.PCUSA.ORG – and, while there is always room for improvement, it is getting pretty good comments. Lastly, contrary to some people's beliefs, I had NOTHING to do with this rebuild, so you can email any/all feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prayers for the ways in which we experience change and movement.
As I walk into these next few days, I am sure I'll experience a number of emotions about the end of my term: relief, sadness, joy and gratitude, but the thing I am most looking forward to is being able to comment more freely about the issues and movements in our particular denomination. Sure, some have felt I have been skewed in some of my work over the past two years, but I hope it will be clear by my post-moderator engagement that I have sincerely attempted to be the moderator of the whole church.
I will begin to do all my official thanks you's and good-bye's on the official Moderator Blog over the next few days, but wanted to give a little background for those lurkers and those on the fringe of my Presbyterian life.
And lastly, regardless of what one believes about the importance or impact of gatherings such as this, there is no doubt that folks gather in this space with great passion and faithfulness about God's calling on the church today. So while i know I will express both joy and distress during this assemly, what will not waiver is my faith that God is unfolding some kind of reality even through out gatherings and that as Presbyterians, we will again come to the table to engage in the diffuclt work of discerning the mind of Christ and the will of God . . . TOGETHER.
God hear our prayer.