Commissioners and advisory delegates who have been able to be in Louisville for the 225th General Assembly have been thrilled to be part of in-person committee meetings for the first-ever hybrid Assembly.
Michael Casey, a Young Adult Advisory Delegate (YAAD) from Albany Presbytery, said that God gave the PC(USA) a great opportunity to come back together after a period of lamenting during Covid, to work together “to be the hands and feet of Christ Jesus.”
While there was a hybrid element to the in-person committee meetings — with those who couldn’t make it to the Assembly — the Rev. Ron Johnson, a Teaching Elder Commissioner (TEC) from the Presbytery of Scioto Valley, said it felt great to be in person with other people.
“There’s nothing like face to face, but we change with whatever circumstances we’re given,” he said.
Tami Richardson, a ruling elder from Trinity Presbytery, agreed, saying her experience of being in person during the committee meetings and feeling people’s passion in the room wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful on Zoom.
“You realize there are people who don’t necessarily look like me who empathize with what I’m dealing with,” she said. “It makes me feel good to be part of a connectional church, that it’s beyond what’s happening within our [local] sanctuary. We're having impact across the world.”
Krystal Y Roman Perez, a YAAD from Presbiterio del Noroeste de Puerto Rico, who describes herself as not being that good with technology, is also grateful to be in Louisville with “all these people who love the same God that I love.”
“I’m happy because when I get back home, I can express all of this to the people that I love,” she said.
For TEC the Rev. Marguerite Sirrine, Presbytery of New Hope, being present at General Assembly is just as wonderful as her presbytery executive promised in terms of the diversity in the denomination. She said being led in worship by only leaders of color in the Juneteenth service was terrific. While the committee she served dealt with some technical issues on its first day of the hybrid Assembly, it improved on the second day.
“I’ve been surprised by how much I like Presbyterians,” she said. “It feels like Covid robbed us of those wonderfully unscripted moments. But to be here in person and have those off-camera kind of moments where you really bond and connect with people in their authentic selves — it’s just been so refreshing, like being rebaptized about who we are as a church.”