by Rev. Mary Hayes, Venice and Commissioner to the 225th GA
Finally! As someone who grew up Presbyterian (where are my cradle to grave people at) I have always wanted to go to General Assembly. The beautiful place where people from all walks of life, all over the country, all over the world, come together to discuss, to debate, to work, to pray, to worship, and to change ourselves, our church, and the world for the better – that is where I want to be! Well, this dream only took 25.5 years to come true…and it was exactly what I needed, dreamt of, and prayed for. There were some surprises, adaptations, and changes – we ARE in a (post?) COVID pandemic world after all.
The short time in person, with heavy duty masks, headphones, multiple devices, and a whole lot of lovely people was wonderful. The work was so important and powerful. As a member of the Addressing Violence in the USA committee, we did prophetic and powerful work addressing common-sense yet often argued over issues to save lives, to love others better, and to follow Jesus of Nazareth.
The work over zoom was important and honestly hard to get through. Thankfully, I had many days with my fellow commissioners from Cincinnati at the Presbytery office. We got to know each other very well, eat lots of food, snacks and cookies together, go for walks on breaks, and discuss life, faith, and beauty in the midst of death, hopelessness, and hate. We were able to help each other focus, remember, and worship God.
I want to specifically thank everyone that helped General Assembly occur this year and those who continued to move forward to support, love, and protect others, even when and especially when others in the world are not. The worship, hymns, and sermons showed the Spirit is moving, God is acting, and Jesus is loving. God is good! Amen.