HudRivPres at GA 221

that we may be "rooted and grounded in love"

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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


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A Ruling Elder Observer’s Experience of GA

Reported by Carla Lesh

My experience as a Ruling Elder Observer at General Assembly includes these highlights:

– The talent pool at General Assembly. So much Presbyterian talent gathered under one roof! Very interesting to be walking past folks I recognized from their byline photos in Presbyterians Today and Presbyterian Outlook. Fascinating conversations all week with Presbyterians from around the country.

– The donation of school supplies organized by the Presbyterian Men and Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit. GA attendees were asked to bring a donation of school supplies.

-The joys and sorrows that accompany GA floor votes.

– The spirit of the people of Detroit and the beauty of the sunsets over the Detroit River.

-The camaraderie of the Hudson River Presbytery delegation as we met in the halls and at the Presbytery dinner. It was very interesting to hear our unique experiences and view points.

– The conversations at the hotel breakfasts. Each morning there are lots of GA-related conversations – the hotel is filled with Presbyterians. One morning I was talking with three folks whose GA enthusiasm seemed to be waning. The conversation turned to the wonderful connectionalism of the denomination. They were impressed and inspired by the story of the Sullivan County congregations utilizing the Presbytery resources and training to revitalize their worship. Revitalized to the extent that an elder from one of those small congregations is a commissioner at General Assembly.

This experience has been very invigorating. I recommend coming to General Assembly!

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Presbytery of Hudson River Dinner

One of our presbytery’s General Assembly traditions has been to go out to dinner on Tuesday evening to celebrate that most committee work is done, to share what’s happened so far in each of the committees in which we’ve been involved, and to just enjoy each other’s company.  This year we went to Santorini’s Estiatorio Restaurant in GreekTown.




Thanks to Susan Andrews for both choosing a great restaurant and hosting the evening!

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Susan DeGeorge’s Morning with the Moderator


This morning a dozen of us met with the newly elected Moderator Heath Rada and Vice-Moderator Larissa Kwong Abazia to share what we’ve learned over the past year and a half about how to be church together.   Those of us sitting around the moderator’s table would appear different in many ways—younger and older, gay and straight, evangelical and progressive, conservative and liberal.  We represent groups that are clearly at various ends of the spectrum on some key issues—groups like Presbyterians for Renewal, That All May Freely Serve, Fellowship of Presbyterians, Presbyterian Welcome, Next Church, Covenant Network, and More Light Presbyterians.  We often have varying understandings of sexuality, of scripture, and of theology. And yet despite such differences, we have become friends, in some cases good friends, across all those lines that too often have divided the denomination.    We have done so by meeting together for long blocks of time during which we have worshiped, shared deeply, listened carefully, responded honestly and openly, laughed, struggled, wept, and prayed together.

Today, after some introductory time in which Heath and Larissa got to know us a bit and offered us Heath bars to munch on, the Moderator asked us questions about what we thought might and might not work in other small group and denominational settings to help the PCUSA move ahead together.  As he and Larissa listened carefully to our responses and followed comments and answers up with more insightful questions, we puzzled together over how what we’ve come to know might help us and the rest of the church embody the body of Christ better, both during the rest of General Assembly and especially afterwards.

– Susan De George


Kathy Dean Explores Detroit with the GA


While Commissioners and Overture Advocates spent the day in committee I spent my day on an arts tour of Detroit offered by the General Assembly. The highlight of the day was a visit to the Hitsville U.S,A, Museum where Motown artists like the Temptations, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson made music history. Berry Gordy established the record label in 1959 and ran the Motown recording studio from his home on West Grand Boulevard until 1972 when he moved the business to Los Angeles.


The second stop of the day was for Jazz in the Park, We were treated to a summer afternoon of music, impromptu dance and storytelling. Then we crossed the street for a tour of the Carr Center, a five year old cultural arts center that is helping people from the immediate neighborhood and from around the world express themselves through all kinds of art.


We ended the day with a drive along Heidelberg Street where an outdoor art project was created in 1986 by Tyree Guyton and his grandfather Sam Mackey.

The Motown Tour was a welcome break from the intensity of the previous days at General Assembly.

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Lunches and Dinners and…

As well as going to committee meetings and plenary sessions, there are lots of opportunities at General Assembly to meet with others who are concerned about the same issues that we are.


On Saturday evening, Peggy Howland, Susan Andrews, Kathy Dean and Susan DeGeorge attended the More Light Presbyterians dinner and listened to Alex McNeil give a keynote speech about how things are changing in the church for lgbtq people.  Alex’ speech can be found at

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Today, several Hudson River Presbytery folks attended the Covenant Network lunch and heard Mark Achtemeier speak.  Among those attending were Elise Lemire, Tami Seidel, and Rhonda Kruse.