Thoughts on the General Assembly by commissioners.
“What’s a COLA Volunteer?” That question came on the tram from the airport baggage claim area to the bus that would deliver me to my hotel in downtown Minneapolis. The question was humorous for it was asked by someone who obviously had no clue as to the answer. The question was prompted by a name tag being worn by two youth who escorted several of us to the bus. The person asking the question assumed that COLA had to do with the soft drink business, but we reached the bus and off we went.
So, what is a COLA volunteer? The Committee On Local Arrangements makes the meeting of thousands of Presbyterians possible. The committee began its work years ago, recruiting hundreds of volunteers who act as guides, as identification and ticket checkers, planning mission trips, acting as hosts for all who come to the General Assembly. These volunteers come from all over Minneapolis, and all over Minnesota. They all wear a smile, and even say “Welcome back” when we return to the meetings.
So, what is a COLA volunteer? An angel – a messenger from God bringing good news to wondering and wandering Presbyterians far from home. Thanks be to God for each one of them.
by Jay Wilkins
Minister Commissioner, Donegal Presbytery
The continued liturgy of the Assembly is happening even as I write.
I am having such a positive experience at the 219th General Assembly serving as a Minister Commissioner.
Its Wednesday, we have been meeting in committees from morning until night, gazing at laptop screens and listening to advocates, resource persons, moderators, one another and the Holy Spirit, we hope.
From my hotel window I look down on a giant, five-story-high wall graphic of music. It is marvelous. Big black notes (all on base clefs) dance across a white painted brick wall. The music is the real thing, a portion of Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit.”
Our day began at 7:00 and eleven and a half hours later I have a substantial enough break to finally be able to share some thoughts.
So here I am at last, at General Assembly.
I feel a bit like Mary Tyler Moore, tossing her hat in the air. The old TV show, filmed in Minneapolis, is immortalized in a statue at Nicollet Mall, just a few blocks from my downtown hotel. Perhaps, like many attending General Assembly for the first time, l am enthused, excited, hopeful, and curious about how this, our remarkable Presbyterian governing system, will work.