HudRivPres at GA 221

that we may be "rooted and grounded in love"


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A Commissioner Looks Back at the GA Experience

Leslie Mardenborough shared these reflections with her home congregation, White Plains Presbyterian Church, this past Sunday:

Let me start with my Thank Yous. First, I thank and am thanking God for answered prayers. At the orientation for the HRP’s Commissioners and Overture Advocates a host of people – Thank you Hudson River Presbytery — have been praying for me and for my concern that I would have the stamina to withstand the grueling General Assembly schedule. When Pastor Jeff asked you to pray for me during our worship under the tent a few weeks ago, he brought you into this unceasing prayer. Thank you, White Plains Presbyterian Church.

The Wednesday morning before I left, when I had reached the end of my energy rope, I followed the example of our sister in Christ, Alice Pala Englert, and put it all in God’s hands…my anxiety about my fatigue; about leaving my mother alone for 10 days, the longest I would be away since her diagnosis of vascular dementia – and I that hadn’t done everything I thought I should to make this comfortable for her and her caregivers; about whether my convictions going into the Commission on Civil Unions and Marriage were God-led; about my unfounded and anxiety-produced fear that my friend who was to drive with me to Detroit would drop out at the last minute. Continue reading


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View from the Floor- Friday Afternoon

Reported by Stephen Valastro

I have made notes on the plenary for Friday afternoon and I will share those here with you all. Once again when I state that the advisors approved or disapproved I am not breaking it down but taking into account the YAADS, TSADS, Ecumenical advisors and Mission advisors as one unit of advisory delegates.

Plenary began this afternoon at 1:30 and we are actually on schedule for the week. An immense amount of work on your behalf has been done here at General Assembly this week but we are not done. This may turn out to be the longest day this week if history is any example. The plenary opened with prayer from a young volunteer alumnus who spent a year in Northern Ireland as a young man. We have had Ecumenical greetings from all over the world this week and this afternoon the greetings were from right here in the US.  Continue reading


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View from the Floor- Friday Evening

Reported by Erica Restaino

Each day of General Assembly is long, but many of us expected Friday to be an especially long day since the Middle East Issues Committee was on the docket. All week, individuals and groups had bombarded us with information. For many, including myself, it was overwhelming.

I arrived at General Assembly with open ears and an open mind because I recognized that for most of the issues, I was not an expert. While the YAADs may not have had an actual vote in plenary, we had the potential to sway the commissioners in one direction or another. Therefore, I listened to others in order to discern what I believed to be the best course of action. Continue reading


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Susan Andrews Looks Back at GA221

Reported by Susan Andrews
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As the General Assembly winds down, I am tired, full, exhilarated and concerned – mixed emotions – but recommitted to our larger Presbyterian family. But more than anything else, I am proud of Hudson River Presbytery. Our commissioners – Tami, Leslie, Stephen, Dale, Erika – were faithful, committed, and very present in voice and action on the Assembly floor. Rhonda, Susan, and Hans were extraordinary in their staff support and presence – and shepherded all six of our overtures to a successful conclusion.
Personally this was a busy General Assembly where my dual roles – as former Moderator of the GA and as General Presbyter of HRP  – both connected and collided. I loved watching and encouraging our commissioners – even as I was asked to act out of my former Moderator role. And my personal commitment to the Israeli/Palestine issue kept me busy strategizing, speaking, and praying. It was not always easy to be two people!

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A YAAD’s Experience of General Assembly

Reported by Erica Restaino

Before coming to General Assembly, I was warned by many that the experience would be exhausting. My pastor even told my congregation to look at me before I left so that they could appreciate the bags under my eyes upon my return. I am hopeful that I have not actually developed bags under my eyes, but it has certainly been a draining week both emotionally and physically.

The cycle of fatigue began with the orientation for the Young Adult Advisory Delegates (YAADs), which stretched from early Friday morning until late at night. During this 15-hour orientation, the YAADs sang, worshipped, ate, and learned more about General Assembly. As long as that day was, I made several friends in that first day. Continue reading