222nd General Assembly - 2016
Summaries and Links to the Proceedings of the
222nd General Assembly meeting in Portland, Oregon, June, 2016
From Paulie Stevens, our YAAD from Morris, IL (who is unable to join us in September): "This was my first time as a Young Adult Advisory Delegate, and it is an experience that I will never forget. The people I met and the history that I was a part of will remain with me well into the future.
I will admit that I was extremely nervous in the months leading up to the General Assembly. I had all of the reading I had to do, and I felt as if I would be extremely under prepared for my stay in Portland. However, after arriving in Portland I felt much better. Meeting with the other YAADs and realizing that they all felt that same way I did was reassuring. I knew at that point that the week would be even better than I could have imagined. I made lots of new friends that I explored the city with, and they made my tourist-y activities even more fun.
Once the week started, it was time to get down to business. The committee meetings felt a bit more casual than I was expecting, to be honest. I felt comfortable sharing and voting for what I believed in. I had expected the other members of the committee to be much more intimidating and official, but they were just regular people like me. Working on the Social Justice Committee was definitely what made my week as rewarding as it was. Social justice issues are important to me, and it helped me stay involved in what was being discussed. There were some matters of business that seemed to go in circles, but I think it helped our committee to work through problem solving and hone those skills.
Once plenary meetings started, that was when everything started feeling real. It was on television, and the speakers were up on giant TVs, and the leaders on stage seemed almost untouchable. Being apart of the first election of co-moderators was a wonderful experience, and I’m so glad that our denomination will be led by Denise and Jan for the next two years. That election was an uplifting start to the week, and it was definitely beneficial to have those two women working with the different delegates.
I feel like our denomination made huge steps towards equality and I am so grateful that I had the honor of being part of that history. The only bad part about plenary was that I did not have the opportunity to know everything about all the issues discussed, so I felt a little uninformed at times. However, I know that I was not the only one who felt that way, and that is the purpose of the committees. It was still an important, life-changing experience for me.
I learned a lot about my own beliefs during that week as well as the beliefs of different members of our denomination. I typically don’t think about the Presbyterian church outside of my own town, but this trip allowed me to look at the church on an international scale, and it was an amazing thing to see. I am so so so thankful that I was given the opportunity to go on this trip, and I hope I will be able to attend more in the future."Paulie Stevens, Blackhawk YAAD to GA 222