Although Blair Buckley came to the 220th General Assembly to raise others’ awareness, at the end of the day it was her own awareness that was raised.
A 2012 graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Buckley spent a year between college and seminary as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) serving at Room In The Inn, a homelessness resource center in Nashville, Tenn.
While at the Assembly to promote and advocate for the YAV program, Buckley also volunteered to participate in a discernment project sponsored by the office of Christian Vocation, in which highlights of her faith story were captured on video.
“Through my year as a YAV, I sensed God’s presence in times of joy, loneliness, and difficulty,” Buckley said. “It was a transformational year, but I am still discerning and processing and reflecting on everything. Since my last three years in seminary have been kind of a whirlwind, I haven’t been able to do as much of that as I would like.”
At the 220th General Assembly, Buckley and other participants were invited into an intentional process – through a variety of forms – to identify and share specific times when they sensed God moving in their lives. Their stories will be available on the Christian Vocation website for others to hear as they engage in their own discernment process.
“Identifying times in our lives when God has moved is discernment,” said Martha Miller, associate for Certification and Christian Vocation for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s office of Vocation. “The more attuned we are to God's presence and activity in our lives, the more we can hear how God may be calling us.”
In Pittsburgh, Young Adult Advisory Delegates (YAADs) were invited into the discernment process as a part of their orientation. Likewise all Assembly participants were invited into the spiritual discipline of discernment through a prayer station in the Assembly's Spirituality Center. The Center was a partnership effort among the office of Vocation – a shared ministry of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (formerly General Assembly Mission Council) and the Office of the General Assembly – Evangelism and Church Growth, and Theology, Worship and Education, both ministry areas of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
In addition to those who participated in the preparation exercises, other Assembly participants were also invited to share their stories on video. As a former YAV – since Buckley had been involved in other forms of discernment – she was given an opportunity here to tell her story.
“Projects like this help me to continue to process and to think about all the pieces and parts and how it all fits together,” Buckley said.