HudRivPres at GA 221

that we may be "rooted and grounded in love"

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View from the Floor – Friday Morning

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


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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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Sunday Morning Worship in Local Churches

This year, those attending the 221st General Assembly were invited to attend local churches.  Below are a few of the worship experiences from those of us in Hudson River Presbytery:

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“I’ve kept up with the mission and ministry of Littlefield Presbyterian Church over the last few years after meeting their pastor, Fran Hayes, at the Multicultural Institute at Montreat.  Today, I visited Littlefield for the first time. Facebook did not prepare me for the joy and engagement of this small, mostly Anglo congregation located in the middle of a community that is 90% Arabic and Muslim.  The worship was multicultural at its best. ”

– Leslie Mardenborough

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“I worshiped at First Presbyterian Church in Farmington, a suburban congregation that was chartered on the floor of the Detroit General Assembly in1954. The Rev. Sue Ellis Melrose is the pastor, and the Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the PCUSA.”

– Susan Andrews

1st Royal Oak

“Today, I visited the First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak. Their congregation is celebrating their 100th anniversary of being a church, which was great since my church is celebrating our 250th! Their church is really beautiful, and they have a strong choir. Today, they had 22 members singing in the choir, and they celebrated one member who has been singing in the choir for 25 years. Here’s a picture of myself with Rev. Thomas Rice. ”

– Erica Restaino

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“A couple of pictures from Fort Street Church. Our new Moderator was there as well as RabbI Alissa Wise and Imam Abdullah El-Amin who both spoke eloquently and with passion. “
          –  Stephen  Valastro