Calvary’s Student Pastor Ben Fitzgerald-Fye writes to us while serving as a Student Assistant at the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) being held in St. Louis, Missouri this week (June 16 – 23, 2018).
Greeting brothers and sisters in Christ.
As I write this, I am sitting in the second meeting of Committee 6, the Committee on Polity and Ordered Ministry of the 223rdGeneral Assembly. I had hoped to write sooner; but, Student Assistants truly hit the ground running here! After about 30 minutes of orientation, we went straight to work setting up assembly tables and getting power to the tables along with any number of other tasks that had to be completed before the first plenary session. This is hard, behind the scenes work that offers us a glimpse of the truly amazing people who make this whole thing happen. There are 17 of us in the student assistant ranks and we are doing a little bit of everything. We are technical support for the entire assembly, we are support and resource contacts for our assigned committees, and we are the people who run motion forms and other items during the larger plenary sessions of the GA. We work 12 hour days and take only a few short breaks a day.
So far, we have had front row seats to the very exciting election of our new co-moderators. I am very happy to report that we had an impressive bench of candidates, all of whom were committed to a church of inclusion and energy for the future. I am also very happy to report that the PCUSA is a living church with so much energy and so much work yet to be accomplished. As we worshipped together and took communion and as the convention center began to fill with a diverse group of people from all places, races, backgrounds, identities, genders, and orientations, there was a palpable sense of the Spirit flowing through the space.
Watching committees work is really an engaging experience and a crash course in parliamentary procedures. There is debate and there is advice given on a number of issues facing our church and our future as the church. You would be both excited and inspired to see how much people care about the ideas and overtures that affect our denomination. You would be equally excited to see our young advisory delegates engaging and challenging their older counterparts on new ways of serving and of being church.
I am feeling tired, overwhelmed, a bit sore, and absolutely inspired by what I have seen and done so far. I hope to get more updates to you as I go…if time allows…I miss you all and please know that you are in my prayers and thoughts as this week progresses. Also, please pray for Sean as he stays home to take care of the cat children during my time away.
Peace be with you.