On this glorious Sunday, over 40 churches in Detroit and the surrounding area graciously welcomed GA Commissioners to worship alongside them. I hopped in a van and ventured with other Commissioners to First Presbyterian Church in Farmington, MI. This church is celebrating their 60th year anniversary today and immediately upon arrival one could feel a joyful, contagious celebratory spirit! The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, gave an eloquent sermon laced with intellect and humor regarding our paying attention to “signs”. The church has a big beautiful organ. I witnessed a baby walking down the aisle trying to give others her shoes. The kids bounded forward for
“Children’s Time.” The choir sang beautifully. It was all so very familiar reminding me of the home I had left a short time ago.
At our plenary meeting this afternoon, we prayed for and celebrated the commissioning of new missionaries. I sat spellbound listening to the 90-year-old young Rev. Dr. James Reese. As an ordained Presbyterian minister for 65 years, he has been coming to every General Assembly since 1974. He said, “I have been at the table all these years and have been frustrated, ignored, and marginalized, but I never left the table… We are richer with us. We are poorer without us.”
Our committee meetings begin this evening and will continue through Tuesday. We work long days… staying at the table. It was nearly midnight when our plenary meeting ended last night. There are issues that ignite extreme passion and debate. This opportunity to be informed, have open dialogue and ultimately vote regarding these issues makes us unique when compared with other denominations. We are always reforming… as individuals, Presbyterians and Christians. To be here in Detroit participating in this process is simply amazing.
You’ve got to go, be there, be present, think and act to grow God’s kingdom. There are a myriad of people from different places with different life experiences here. Yet, we all have a shared bond and thread. I have met the most interesting, dynamic and faithful people. The energy is electrifying!