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June 20, 2008: Impressions, initial sights and insights

The first thing that has to be said is San Jose is tremendous. It was easy to get here. It was easy to find the hotel, easy to get registered, easy to get settled in. That has not always been the case.

The convention center area is the best of the ten I have seen -- Albuquerque, Syracuse, Charlotte, Ft. Worth, Long Beach, Louisville, Columbus, Denver, and Richmond. Everything is very close, it is well organized, and things have been very smooth.

There is the growing hum and buzz of excitement that precedes an Assembly. Nervous energy abounds. It also is a lot of fun spotting friends that I have not seen in quite a long time. Anyway, at the risk of boring you with the GA equivalent of family vacation slides, here are some pictures. I thought these might be helpful to get some idea of what it all looks like:

plenary hall

This is the plenary hall. I shot this from the far back. The blue curtain in the center aisle separates "observers" from denominational officials and governing body executives. If you look a little farther up, you can see a black curtain. That's where commissioners will sit.

plenary floor back

Note the black curtain. Everyone in front is a commissioner or advisory delegate. My assigned seat is on the aisle, right side, just in front of microphone #8. Great seat. I could not have picked a better one. (That's serious, in case anyone thinks I am complaining -- I really could not have asked for a better seat.)

plenary floor front

This is what the Moderator will see. Note the microphones 2, 5, 8. This was shot with a wide-angle lense, and it still does not get everyone. I spotted nine microphones total, but they were still setting up.

Here's my view of the platform, the voting box, and what my desk will look like:

my view

voting box

my desk

 

At the back of the hall are mailboxes for commissioners. First, the one of the tables (there are four of them). Then, my mailbox.

mailboxes

my mailbox

Note how there is already material in it.

In previous posts, I have mentioned that committees will be meeting Sunday night, Monday, and Tuesday. Here's my committee's room:

committee room

committee front

Many committees will hold public hearings. In order to be eligible to speak, you have to sign up:

signups

There's a whole lot more -- including the Exhibit Hall. That can wait until tomorrow. I also hope to get some faces of the Assembly for you.