Monday and Tuesdays are spent in committee meetings. Recommendations are made to the full Assembly, which then decides whether to accept, reject or modify those recommendations. That work begins this afternoon. Since so much of the news is provisional (you can get an overview of Monday's and Tuesday's work by following the links), I wanted to highlight the people who are here: the ones who sit around the tables, discussing issues and taking votes. Turns out, they are just "ordinary folks" who were sent here by their presbyteries, like me.
In my committee (#12: Peacemaking & International Issues), we had about 50 people. Throughout the 2 1/2 days of meeting (we got an orientation on Sunday night), I sat next or near to people from all over the world. There was a doctor from Bangladesh in front of me. Two chairs to my left was a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her first language was French and she had a translator to help interpret the discussions. One of our resolutions to do with the situation in the DRC, so it was helpful to have her as part of the committee (they are both what are know as Ecumenical Advisory Delegates- EAD)
On one side was a minister from northeastern Iowa. On the other side was a woman who does forensic DNA analysis for the police. A couple chairs over was a woman who does financial planning. Also in front of me is a college sophomore, serving as a Young Adult Advisory Delegate- YAAD. (Advocates have voice and vote in committee work, but not in full assembly. Instead, they get to vote before the commissioners as a way of "advising" us as we go to vote). A retired minister sat on the other side. Pick any part of the room and I'm sure it would have yielded a similar cross section. There were a lot of different backgrounds with a lot of different opinions, and it was fascinating to watch as we learned how to work together and make decisions.
There have been lots of things that impressed me so far about General Assembly, but none so much as the number, nature and spirit of all the people who have come to do their best to be attentive to what God is wanting to do.