June 27th, 2018

Serving as a Commissioner to the 223rd General Assembly was an extraordinary experience. Picture men, women, college and seminary students and high schoolers gathering from every state and territory of the US: 538 Commissioners and 183 Advisory Delegates from 173 presbyteries. Then picture us with our various colored name badges and piles of documents filling the sidewalks and meeting rooms of an urban civic center and six adjacent hotels. The St. Louis civic center was so huge that one day I took 12,000 steps just walking from my hotel room to meetings and meals!

Every day was packed with worship, prayer, singing, hearings, debate, overtures, amendments, votes and shared meals at which the business of the assembly was often the ongoing topic. Mix that with seeing old friends from seminary and pastor colleagues from other towns while walking down almost any sidewalk or hallway. We would shriek, hug and hurry off to the next appointed gathering.

I have always been proud to be a Presbyterian, and this week made me even more grateful to God for our faithful company of witnesses. We debated many hard topics: immigration, whether to divest from companies that profit directly from business in the Gaza strip; the debtors prisons that arise when people accused of a crime but not yet tried have no money to post bail; the policy of separating children from their parents at the border (where it is not now, and never has been, illegal to present oneself to ask for asylum.)  These were only a few of the high-profile topics we as a church choose to act on or study. It was intense. It was moving. I cried during some part of each day—usually worship. And it was an incredible privilege.

You have an opportunity to hear more soon. PCUSA stated Clerk, J. Herbert Nelson, will be preaching and speaking at the next meeting of Peaks Presbytery, Saturday August 18, at Trinity Ecumenical Parish Church in Moneta. The other Peaks Commissioners and I will give our report. Given the size of our presbytery, it’s relatively close by should you want to attend and hear from our Stated Clerk and have your own micro GA experience. I will never forget mine.

Peace, Catherine

Scripture Readings:
2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27
Psalm 130
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Mark 5:21-43