As the 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) goes into the home stretch, Nathan Young is highly confident. For the past two years, he’s been producing events like this with the PC(USA) PC-Biz platform. The plenaries are all online this week, with the co-moderators, parliamentarian and Stated Clerk in a brand-new television production studio.
“There are screens and Teleprompters and everything. They have all the information they need to moderate a meeting,” Young said. “It’s exactly how we would do an in-person Assembly. It’s now a television studio, with no audience.”
Once the screens are placed in front of the co-moderators, they realize how all the technology is really valuable to them. According to Vicente Guna, the associate director of technologies in the Office of the General Assembly, the amount of information is extremely helpful for them to run a very efficient plenary meeting.
“All the processes and all the technology that we have implemented are specifically oriented to organize that meeting and run it in the smartest way possible,” he said.
People have reported to Julia Henderson, director of General Assembly planning and business management, that they would not make their way to a microphone in a physical convention center because they’re not able to stand for a long time. But now they can push a button and seek recognition, which makes the Assembly more accessible.
“You’re right in front of your screen up close; it’s not across a convention center room,” she said. “It’s really more intimate.”
All of the people running PC-Biz, cameras, audio and graphics are working together backstage to bring the both the business and production side of GA225 together.
“It’s amazing, listening to [Stated Clerk] J. Herbert talking about this as part of his vision; it’s just something I think we can do really well,” Young said.
Guna says Presbyterians can be proud of how the church is using PC-Biz. Built in the PC(USA), its underlying technology makes it very flexible and adaptable for other circumstances and organizations doing Assembly-like events.
“We’ve served [contracted with] the United Church of Christ and two assemblies for the Presbyterian Church in Canada,” Guna said. “It’s a path we’ve already walked, that’s actually great,that we’re already there.”
“To see the church excited about something new and to feel how the Spirit is moving through all this work is great,” Young added.