Leading General Assembly Reflection and Prayer

The Boston YAVs attended PC(USA)’s 221st General Assembly in Detroit last week. It was a long and jam-packed week, so I will be writing several blog posts about the experience, out of order of course.

The Young Adult Volunteer program was asked to lead the opening reflection, discussion, and prayer before every plenary session. GA is essentially Presbyterian Congress, and the first half of the week was spent in committee meetings and the second half in plenary, which is when the advisory delegates and commissioners discuss and vote on the issues as a whole.

It was an honor to speak in front of the whole assembly, especially to open the session with devotion and prayer to remind everyone why were there and who (and whose) we are. We were extremely nervous when we learned that opening the plenary session meant speaking on the big stage in front of everyone, and we were nervous wrecks the night before and morning of. After our five minutes were up I realized it wasn’t that bad, it was almost fun.

YAVs GA

Boston YAVs on the big screen.

YAVs and Rob GAHere we are after right afterward (with Rob, pastor of Audrey’s host church, Church of the Covenant), all smiles.

We kicked off plenary session 6 on Thursday morning. This is what we said:

Good morning, we are the Young Adult Volunteers currently serving in Boston. An integral part of the YAV program is living in intentional community. Being a part of the community has taught me the value of honesty, compassion, vulnerability, compassion, and sharing. Not only do these apply to our small, close-knit community, but also to GA here today. God has created us to be in community– to live, work, and be the church together; the only way we can do our work together is together as one body in Christ. God calls us to not become comfortable or complacent with who is already in our community, who is already at the table, who we already see as our neighbor. God calls us to reach out and extend our community, to make room at the table, and to love each person as our neighbor. Our lives are better, our work is better, our churches are better when we come together and every voice is heard.

Romans 12:4-5 teaches us that “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

Turn to your neighbor and discuss a time you have been the boundaries of your community expand at GA.

(After a few minutes we closed in prayer.)

Dear God,

Thank you for welcoming each one of us at your table and making us a part of your community. Thank you for always giving us a place at the table, even when we forget to mind our manners. Please give us the wisdom, energy, and courage to be like you: to expand our community to reach beyond where we draw our lines in showing love, sharing honesty, sharing vulnerability, and sharing compassion. May you continue the work in your body especially today, this week, and always. We lift this us to you in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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