Even before opening worship on Saturday, I was taken on a brief tour of my own history as I hugged and spoke to people from several stages of my life in ministry, which is now in its 25th year. I ran into friends from seminary as well as people from Western New York and Miami Valley Presbytery where the first two churches I served are located.
The opening worship featured a sermon by outgoing GA Moderator, Heath Rada, and the celebration of communion. The music in worship was varied: we sang traditional hymns, heard anthems that featured the very large choir and the equally robust bell choir, as well as contemporary worship songs led by a praise band. To me, the total effect of this was to offer a very varied experience. Heath Rada’s message combined the story from Genesis about Joseph and his brothers and their reconciliation with the parable of the Prodigal Son (or as I call it, the parable of the Two Wayward Sons). Communion was shared amid very creative artwork that was on display in the hall.
Plenary began with a multi-faith worship/statement regarding gun violence. The anniversary of the shootings in Charleston, SC, the shootings in Orlando, FL, and other attacks were mourned and remembered. The local “host” presbytery offered greetings that included a very well-crafted film. A visiting pastor from Bangladesh offered greetings that reminded us all of the international reach of Presbyterians, and of how this General Assembly is being watched online by people around the world.
The evening meeting on Saturday was centered on the election of the moderator, or in this case, the co-moderators. For the first time in it’s history, the PC (USA) will be led by two people – in fact, two women: Jan Edmiston and Denise Anderson. They were elected with over 75% of the vote over two men who were also running to be co-moderators. Before the vote, all four were well applauded for being willing to serve. Each pair was asked several questions; all the answers were adequate. It was great to see democracy in action in the church. I believe Jan and Denise will serve our church well. They certainly earned my vote.
You can learn more about out the follow the activities happening at #GA222 and our Albany Presbytery Commissioners in our blog post: Introducing the #GA222 Commissioners from #AlbPresby.
Rev. Glenn Leupold serves at First Presbyterian Church, Albany. At General Assembly 222, he is serving on the Mission Coordination Committee. While in Portland, Glenn is looking forward to being part of the connectional church in action, the learning moments, the fun events and catching up with old friends. You can “Follow” him on Twitter: @PastorGlennFPC
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