August 03, 2009

General Assembly Reflections

I did not find many opportunities to blog at the Assembly. I was up every night past midnight as it was. Now, I am at home, having ended my time by enjoying yesterday's closing concert, and going out to dinner at a restaurant that had "So Cal Fish Tacos" ... but no churros.
I was impressed that this year's Assembly, with its theme of "For the Healing of the Nations," really encouraged participants to do God's work beyond our church (and convention center) walls. In fact, the Assembly itself modeled this. On Saturday night, there was an interfaith prayer vigil following the evening's worship. General Assembly participants were joined by a diverse group of religious leaders from the community to pray for a solution to this country's problematic and unjust health care system.

Then on Sunday afternoon, the Assembly concluded with a closing concert and communion service to which the whole community was invited. I don't know how successful the effort to welcome the surrounding community was, but I appreciated the model this presented as a way for us to be more welcoming churches in our own communities.
There was an effort this year to be a "green" assembly, which included sending out information on a CD format instead of the usual paper docket. Unfortunately, this resulted in a lot of people not knowing what was going on--and announcements during the assembly were few and far between. It was a good first attempt to use less paper, and I'm sure future assemblies will improve in this area.
Highlights for me included Sharon Watkins' State of the Church address, as well as her sermon during Friday night's worship. (I hope that the State of the Church video is made available online or through DVDs!) The music was spectacular, although I particularly enjoyed the band ImPerfect, a group of youth, several of whom I've counseled at summer camp.
Finally, one thing new about this assembly for me was tweeting. Tweeters were active at the assembly, posting over 1,000 tweets (which can be found on twitter by using the #ccdoc hashtag). I haven't yet figured how tweeting can benefit ministry, but at times tweeting and reading tweets during business sessions felt like a high-tech version of passing notes in class: fun, in a somewhat irreverent and subversive way. At least it kept the business sessions from being too boring!
News from this year's General Assembly can be found at the DisciplesWorld website. Videos from the worship services are available at the General Assembly website. The next General Assembly will take place in summer, 2011, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Update: I just noticed that I (or rather, my "twitter identity") got mentioned in this article about tweeting at the assembly...

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