Reflections on General Assembly by Beth Bauer

O Spirit of cascading waterfalls down the Columbia River Gorge, we have received waters of unending grace. We praise you, the three-in-one God. Without you we will not make it through the week. You are “The Hope in our Calling”, in the cascading waters of baptism. Alleluia!

GA222_BBauer_atFallsHaving spent Friday touring some of the amazingly beautiful waterfalls in the Cascade Mountains, these words from the Call to Worship to commence our time together at GA really resonated with me. The word “cascading” is not one we hear or use much in our own liturgy or prayers, and I am struck by its rich imagery.

It is impossible not to feel the Holy Spirit cascading over all of us here in Portland. In the people we meet, the conversations we have, the work we are doing, and the worship we experience, there is a profound sense of God’s active and moving presence, calling us to be renewed with hope.

Saturday morning began with “Riverside Conversations”, a time to gather in small groups and discuss who we are as a church. My group had a very engaging and meaningful conversation about the challenges facing the church and how we might move beyond them. At the end we were each asked to share one word as a response to our conversation. The words our group individually and collectively lifted up were “hopeful” and “love.”

Last night we elected Co-Moderators of the General Assembly. This was especially interesting to our delegation, as our own Adan Mareina was one of the candidates. Although Adan and David Parker, who stood with him, were not elected, we joyfully celebrated that this Assembly had made history by electing two women to this position for the first time ever.

We have been inspired, trained and informed in our first plenary sessions. Now it is time begin our challenging committee work. May love, grace, hope, and the peace of Christ cascade over all of our deliberations.