The “Along the Road” podcast team in Mid Council Ministries has continued to share new episodes in April and May, including hours of insights from church leaders and national church staff members about the General Assembly.

As Season 2 comes to an end, and the miles tick down toward Salt Lake City, new and previous Along the Road podcasts are being shared with a wider audience than ever before, with the goal of orienting, educating and inspiring assembly participants.

Listen to new episodes of “Encounter” and “Nourish” and access information about each using the menu below, or go directly to the Along the Road page. Subscribe to Along the Road through your podcast provider.

New assembly-focused episodes feature discussions about the pivotal role of commissioners (with guest Jihyun Oh), how mid councils help train commissioners (Fran Lane Lawrence, Forrest Classen and Eliana Maxim), how an overture moves through the assembly (Kate Trigger Duffert and Ken Tolley), and how individuals are asked to vote their conscience during committees and plenaries (Joyce Lieberman).

Although mid council and local church leaders remain the podcast’s target audiences, observers at the General Assembly are also being encouraged to listen to those new episodes and curated older ones as they prepare for the summer’s full docket.

Featured episodes for observers on the assembly website include a “Polity Nugget” on Presbyterian identity, three episodes on “How the Assembly Works,” and four episodes on “Equity and Inclusion.” Two other featured episodes look at Robert’s Rules of Order and trauma-informed decision-making.

Together with videos on the upcoming assembly’s unique format and on parliamentary procedure, the Along the Road episodes are helping to orient observers taking in the proceedings in-person or online — providing overviews of how the assembly discerns and votes, and how the church’s constitution informs that work.

Along The Road observer resources on the GA226 website, May 2024.

Along The Road observer resources on the GA226 website, May 2024.

Nourish host Martha Miller is pleased to share Along the Road episodes with a wide assembly audience. Ruling elders and deacons who observe the assembly this summer might serve as commissioners or advisory delegates in the future.

“To ruling elders or deacons in local congregations who are not commissioners or advisory delegates to General Assembly, the gathering can seem unrelatable,” Miller said. “It is, however, foundational to our polity and our faithful service in a connectional church.

“Since our mission with the Nourish episodes of Along the Road is to provide nourishment for ruling elders and deacons as they continue in their formation as leaders in Christ’s church and within the PC(USA), creating episodes that make our Presbyterian beliefs come alive is a gift. All thanks go to our amazing guests!”

valerie izumi, Encounter co-host along with Manuel Silva-Esterrich, is especially excited to share episodes related to equity and inclusion.

“If you ask a commissioner or advisory delegate to the General Assembly to name a critical component of their work, you are likely to hear the term ‘equity primes and choice points’ — tools for lessening bias in our actions and decisions and priming and opening our mindsets for equitable action,” izumi said.

Recently izumi told a teaching elder about an equity primes and choice points podcast episode he might be interested in.

“He immediately said, “Do you mean the Along the Road podcast? I listen to that podcast!’” izumi recalled. “I was so impressed and moved, because our Encounter podcasts, which are so much fun for Manuel and me to host, are living up to their design  — to provide information and education to mid council leaders, and hopefully to be shared with congregations as well.”

Now that Season 2 is wrapping up, the podcast team is looking forward to planning future conversations that continue to speak to church leaders and encourage their many forms of ministry. After the assembly, there will be plenty of new miles to reflect on and look forward to traveling together.