by Zoë Goode, 225th General Assembly YAAd
When I was first asked to be a Young Adult Advisory Delegate for the 225th General Assembly I had no idea what that meant or even what it was, but I said yes anyway. Several months and many questions later, I had formed a general idea of what it meant to be a delegate to GA and what I was supposed to be doing. For the most part my expectations were accurate. There was a lot of parliamentary procedure, many technical difficulties, and numerous acronyms that made me grateful for the reference list we were given. However, what I did not expect was the beautiful community of people that I got to work alongside over the course of those two weeks.
I encountered this community almost immediately after my arrival in Louisville when I met my fellow YAADs. Every night during the in person GA, and almost every night during the online plenary portion, our YAAD leaders hosted meetings for us. In these meetings we mainly talked about our experiences during the day, which was especially nice during committees as we got to hear about the work of the other committees and share what we had been working on too. For those of you who haven’t been to GA, it is both very rewarding and exhausting work, but the wonderful community around me (especially my fellow YAADs) supported me through all of it.
I came to GA newly 18 and doubting my own qualifications to be there. I had never been to seminary, never served a church in an “official” role, and I had a limited understanding of the workings of the PC(USA) and its various offices. However, as I met my fellow YAADs, I was reminded why we are a necessary part of GA. I was reminded that my own experiences as a young adult in the church more than qualified me to be there. My fellow YAADs and I brought something invaluable to GA: a different perspective. Over the course of committee meetings I saw again and again how important it is to have a diverse community of people working alongside each other to use their unique perspectives for the betterment of our church rather than its division.
That’s not to say there weren’t moments where we experienced tension or even conflict. Certainly there were times where our committees found themselves in conflict over a controversial item or amendment, but even in those times we had our little community of YAADs to fall back on. Whether it was someone in a committee who said something hurtful, concerns about a particular amendment being passed, or people just being surprised that we had ideas at all, the YAADs supported and listened to each other.
I am so grateful for the many ways in which I found community during my time at GA. I am grateful for the YAADs who worked and laughed with me throughout GA. I am grateful for my committee, who listened to and encouraged everyone (even when they didn’t agree). I am grateful for the leadership and love of our co-moderators who guided us through very long and difficult zoom plenaries. I am grateful for the fellowship and humor of my fellow Cincinnati delegates who kept me sane during online plenary sessions. But mostly I am grateful for the beloved community of people from around the globe that God gathered together for the 225th General Assembly. It was an honor to work alongside them and to serve my church in this way.