It was a bit surreal watching the Assembly from the comfort of my study. Some of it was boring. If you are a San Francisco Seminary graduate like I am, some of it was frustrating. (A task force was set up to reconcile San Francisco Seminary which is now governed by the University of Redlands which will involve professional mediation if needed. SFTS was decertified as a PCUSA seminary for their merger with U of R.) From reading the Presbyterian Outlook review of the after-action report from the Office of General Assembly, if you are a Black woman or girl you were let down by the Assembly. If you are in one of the 100 or so Native American congregations in the Southwest, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest, you were heartened that a shortened Assembly found time to commit to Native American property and leadership needs.
The General Assembly met on two successful Fridays and Saturdays, on-line. Cherlyn Thornton, In Yang, and Christopher Stanley were our commissioners or delegates. (I was shocked to learn that 40 of the 172 presbyteries did not send a Youth Advisory Delegate to the General Assembly.) The Assembly was trying to respond to George Floyd and other killings of Black men and women. They made some statements but fully acknowledged the work needs to be done in congregations and presbyteries. One interesting critique of the Assembly is Roberts Rules and its accompanying procedures essentially locks in white supremacy. Perhaps Cherylyn, In, and Christopher can comment on that in person at our next virtual Presbytery Assembly. But there is and was frustration that as a 90% White denomination, Whites make the rules and other ethnic groups need to conform. One sign of support for People of Color in our Church is the co-moderators for the next two years of our General Assembly are a Black Man and a Native American woman and our Stated Clerk of the General Assembly was re-elected to a second four-year term. J. Herbert Nelson is a Black man.
I believe the real action is in the congregation. But the General Assembly came alongside congregations, elders, and ministers as we seek to be the Body of Christ in these United States.