Ask the Reverend Tom Hay, director of operations for the Office of the General Assembly, how long it is until the 220th General Assembly (2012), and he will answer to the minute.
For others, it is enough to know that fewer than 120 days remain until June 30th, when Cindy Bolbach, Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010), will convene the opening session at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa.
The general flow of this year’s General Assembly will resemble those of previous assemblies, with a few exceptions. One of the changes will be in the worship life of the assembly.
Opening worship will be the first thing on the docket for Saturday afternoon, rather than Sunday morning. Presbyterians from Pittsburgh and the surrounding region will join those attending the assembly for the Communion service, during which Ruling Elder Bolbach will preach. Pittsburgh Presbytery’s Committee on Local Arrangements (COLA) is planning the service, led by Craig Dobbins, director of music ministries at The Presbyterian Church of Sewickley.
On Sunday morning, July 1, assembly participants will scatter to share in fellowship and praise in twenty-nine host congregations in the Pittsburgh area.
“This is a first-time adventure for a PC(USA) General Assembly, and we are very excited about local congregations being dynamically involved in the work of the 220th Assembly,” said the Rev. Ted Martin, pastor of Hampton Presbyterian Church in Gibsonia, Pa., and leader of COLA’s Sunday worship subcommittee.
The twenty-nine host congregations represent a mixture of worship styles. The description of each congregation and style is available when people register for the General Assembly. Included in the registration process will be an opportunity to sign up to attend a particular congregation.
“We strongly encourage folks to indicate which church they want to attend when they register for GA,” said Martin. “The host church is looking forward to sharing with assembly goers the ministry God has called them to pursue.”
Martin indicated that transportation to and from churches on Sunday morning has already been secured.
“Individuals will not need to worry about how to get there or what to do,” he said. “Each church has at least one representative that will help them that morning to find the correct vehicle that will whisk them to the church they selected in the Pittsburgh region.”
Each host congregation will provide lunch, after which assembly participants will be delivered back to the convention center “ready to continue with the responsibilities they have been called to fulfill,” said Martin.
When asked about the change in the GA worship schedule, the Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, said, “We are excited that we will get to experience the rich and diverse worship life in the congregations of Pittsburgh Presbytery.”
The highest council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the 220th General Assembly (2012) will convene at 1:30 p.m. on June 30, and adjourn at noon on July 7. Register online.