Recognizing the limited time available at the 224th General Assembly (2020) next month, the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) is working to keep commissioners engaged after the online assembly concludes.
On Thursday, COGA voted to appoint a task group to create opportunities for small groups of commissioners and advisory delegates to stay connected and address issues facing the church.
“There has been some conversation on ways to engage commissioners beyond the online plenaries and assembly pieces,” said Stephanie Anthony, COGA vice moderator. “How do we keep commissioners engaged after GA so they can be in deliberation and discernment around issues that could not be considered at this year’s assembly?”
Anthony says the task force will work to pull together opportunities for the newly elected Co-Moderators to be engaged and to hear from commissioners.
“This is an acknowledgement that commissioners are elected for a two-year term. After the three-day assembly is over, their work is not done,” said COGA member Eliana Maxim. “We still want to see commissioners engage because there’s a fullness of what it means to be part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) that won’t be represented in those three days.”
Maxim says things are rapidly changing and moving within the PC(USA) as a result of COVID-19.
“Commissioners can still engage on issues pressing the denomination and we don’t want to lose that momentum as we move toward the next General Assembly in 2022,” she said. “We hope this could be done in consultation with others who have expressed interest in this kind of work with our commissioners. The task force would need to be in dialogue and looking for partners in this work.”
COGA also debriefed on Monday’s joint meeting with the Presbyterian Mission Agency and A Corporation boards on their various budgets. The meeting provided a testing ground for the groups as well as staff as they prepare for an online assembly. Committee and board members utilized the same technology that will be used in June.
Most comments were positive, with a few suggestions for improving participants’ ability to fully engage in an online assembly.
“I was very impressed with it and we have hope for General Assembly; thumbs up on the good work,” said member Lynn Hargrove.
The 224th General Assembly (2020) is scheduled to take place June 19, 26, and 27, with a limited agenda addressing critical church business only.