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June 23, 2008: Committee Work Begins

This morning, we began the real work of the committees. Next to the Moderator's election, this is the time when the energy is the highest: the game has begun. All of the language of togetherness and loving one another gets put to the test beginning this morning.

Here's what my committee looks like (now that we convened):

Committee tables (my black coffee cup at the empty chair)

committee tables

Whole room

committee room

So, my morning is not going to be a survey of what happened across the Assembly; rather, I'm only going to reflect on what we heard.

Aside from the approval of minutes and financial reviews (yeah, that would make exciting reading for you), we were presented with Item 08-20, "An Invitation To Expanding Partnership in God's Mission." The initial description reminded me of the legend of the Septuagent -- here, 68 people came up with one statement in one try.

The difficulty for something like this is that it is not controversial. If the committee does not debate it, if the Assembly does not really engage it, it becomes a sign-on document. My experience with sign-on documents is that people agree and are really glad that someone, somewhere, is somehow doing mission on our behalf. "We're real glad people are doing it...." and we excuse ourselves from participating.

The presentation is complete -- the question is posed, "This is like Motherhood and Apple Pie, what will this mean in practicality and financially?" Hunter Farrell talked about the need to do mission "interdependently." It will mean coordinating together. It prevents the confusion of having different groups arriving in the same place and overlapping efforts. Questions followed about how the substance of that effort would be worked out and how much it would cost.

Our first questioner was correct: "Motherhood and apple pie." Blessings as they try to make it substantive.

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with some "inside baseball" kinds of things having to do with designated and restricted giving. I made an amendment that was approved; so, a good morning.