The Presbyterian Outlook is an independent weekly newsletter covering the life of the PC(USA). This series of articles provides a helpful overview of the actions taken by the 221st General Assembly.
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
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
Reported by Tami Seidel
Here we are again – back in plenary, a little more rested, a little apprehensive about the day, knowing what lies ahead this afternoon with fossil fuel divestment, Middle East issues and the marathon to finish all the Assembly’s business.
Because this is the 20th anniversary year of the Young Adult Volunteer program, alumni of the YAV program have led us in morning devotions. This morning, a young woman from Ireland who served as a YAV in Nashville, Tennessee shared a moving moment in the struggle for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. On June 27, 2012, Queen Elizabeth visited Northern Ireland and met with Martin McGuinness, a former commander of the IRA. The big question on everyone’s mind was “would they shake hands?” The YAV described what a powerful symbol a simple handshake could be, to see two people previously on different sides of bitter conflict, come together and offer each other their hands in peace. We were then asked reflect on when/where we have experienced reconciliation in our own lives.
The main business of the morning came from the Mid-Councils Committee, which didn’t seem like it would be a controversial topic. That’s what I thought too when I was assigned to this committee. Little did I know that long after all of the other committees (including Marriage and Middle East Issues) finished their work, we would still be plugging away, trying to discern the best way forward for our denomination’s middle governing bodies. Continue reading