Associate Stated Clerk Kate Trigger Duffert

Associate Stated Clerk Kate Trigger Duffert reflects on GA226 and the upcoming GA227 in Milwaukee on the final episode of GA Daily on July 4, 2024. Photo by Kristen Gaydos

“For GA Daily and the GA news team, that’s a wrap from Salt Lake City. Happy Fourth of July. We’ll see you in Milwaukee in 2026.”

With those words, GA Daily host Fred Tangeman concluded the final episode of GA Daily for the 226th General Assembly.

The episode, featuring GA Business Manager Ken Tolley and Associate Stated Clerk Kate Trigger Duffert, provided an opportunity to look back at the GA that had finished ahead of schedule that morning and to look forward to the next assembly, which will take place in the “Laverne & Shirley” city of brews and festivals.

One of the reasons Milwaukee was chosen is that “the presbytery is excited, and as we saw here in Utah, the investment of the presbytery and the way that they bring us into this place is huge for how an assembly can happen,” said Trigger Duffert, Director of General Assembly Planning. “I'm really looking forward to talking with them and figuring out their ideas, and their excitement is just a huge win for planning the Assembly moving forward.”

Trigger Duffert also highlighted some of Milwaukee’s assets, from its RiverWalk and plethora of local eateries to its efforts to ensure that their city didn’t become a ghost town of vacant buildings after the pandemic waned.

“They’ve done that in a way that, I think, really makes sure that the group of people who live in that place feel invested and that they're able to create this really strong sense of community within their downtown area, and that's exactly where we will land as the assembly,” she said. “So, we'll get to be a part of that, and we'll get to be witness to the shift in how that community is managing its space, its environment, its economy.”

Trigger Duffert was the second guest of the final episode, which had opened with Tolley reviewing some of the business of the morning, including the unified budget.

Tolley also talked about some of the trickier parts of the Assembly, which included the plenary sessions with fossil fuel divestment-related business from the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee. He noted that the assembly approved ENV-02, an overture to divest from the fossil fuel industry, then later disapproved it and replaced it with a softer measure, ENV-06.

“Anytime we have a motion to reconsider and back things up, it gets a little bit more complicated,” he said. Also, “serving as the voting manager, anytime we went immediately from calling the question into an amendment into the original motion, it was very rapid.”

Trigger Duffert said she was grateful to have a team in place that could surmount any technical hurdles that arose, either in plenary or committee.

“At one point we had, you know, over 80 people calling the question and that’s a lot of content in our system that doesn't necessarily need to be there.

Thankfully, we were able to, again, pause and address that on the technical side very, very quickly,” she said.

Contingency plans also were being put in place at times. For example, “in the course of maybe 10-minute breaks where there were dances and folks having fun out in the aisles, the backstage team had put together three different possible ways forward and were ready to go, so that was pretty incredible to watch happen.”

Going into a different topic, Trigger Duffert was asked to comment on spaces and resources that were set aside for equity inclusion at the assembly.

“It was really important for us to have those spaces available and ready for the different conversations that came on the floor,” she said. “Some of them were very difficult. Some of them came with a lot of emotional weight that folks just needed to have a place to deal with and be with. So those spaces really ended up being a great resource in light of what was happening on the floor.”

She added that she’s “really looking forward to hearing from people, especially through the survey that will be going out relatively soon, about how they engaged with those spaces and how we can continue to uplift them and improve them as we move forward.”

Closing worship had been expected to start at noon Thursday, but the entire Assembly had finished by then, and no extremely late nights were necessary to complete business. Tangeman thanked Trigger Duffert and her team for that and also added that moderators the Rev. CeCe Armstrong and the Rev. Tony Larson kept “things moving along in an amazing way.”

Looking to the future, Trigger Duffert spoke optimistically about changes to the standing rules and no longer having to spend time “checking boxes that aren’t helpful.” She’s also looking forward to better clarity around deadlines for business.

“We've had just a terrible time trying to communicate these deadlines that don't fully make sense and (that) make the work harder,” she said, “and the standing rules special committee really worked closely with staff” to improve that, she said. “I think that's going to be really wonderful to see happen for this Assembly.”

Watch past episodes of GA Daily here.