Presbyterian Church (USA) – Online Committees, In-Person Plenaries

The General Assembly Bureau Committee met for its monthly Zoom meeting on October 20, 2022.

The General Assembly Office Committee has approved a new format for the 226th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Last summer, the 225th General Assembly voted for a hybrid Assembly in 2024 with some changes. Committees will meet virtually while plenaries will be held in person in Salt Lake City. At its fall meeting last month, COGA began considering a handful of options for how to structure committee meetings. On Thursday, General Assembly Office staff proposed a new proposal that would schedule online committee meetings over three days, a two-day travel break, followed by several days of plenaries in Salt Lake City. COGA approved the format unanimously.

Plan Highlights:

  • Committees will be encouraged/required to meet for learning opportunities, riverside conversations and group building prior to the official start date
  • The committees will meet for three days with a schedule adapted to different time zones
  • The election of the moderator/co-moderator will take place during the first plenary after the committee meetings
  • All moderator candidates will be fully trained prior to election
  • If hybrid commissioner/advisory delegate participation is approved, participants will be required to work around the Salt Lake City mountain time zone.

“We know people have struggled to recruit and based on the feedback we know it’s easier to organize lives around one focused time instead of multiple times,” said Kate Duffert, responsible for OGA for GA Business and Per Capita. “For Young Adult Advisory Delegates, it’s difficult for them to attend summer school around multiple GA dates.”

Although the format is approved, the finalization of the dates is still under consideration. OGA staff review format plans. Plan A would have committees meeting online Saturday-Monday, June 22-24, with plenaries taking place Thursday-Monday, June 27-July 1.

“This plan is dependent on the availability of space and rooms needed for committee meetings,” said Deb Davies, OGA meeting services manager. “Our current contract with the convention center would start on Wednesday the 26th. We would be releasing a lot of the rooms that we have contracted for four nights after July 1. »

Davies said Plan B would see a brief opening plenary and committee meetings Wednesday through Friday, June 26-28, with plenaries taking place Monday through Friday, July 1-5.

“We like the idea of ​​wrapping up General Assembly before July 4, but it’s the willingness to meet on the 4th that has won us the best rates in Salt Lake City,” she said.

Among the remaining challenges are how to provide technical support to no less than 12 committees and the necessary training for committee moderators, vice-moderators and assistants.

“This Assembly will be different from all previous Assemblies. But as an educator with experience teaching online, running a productive, well-run meeting on Zoom requires a completely different skill set than doing it in person,” said COGA member Robin Pugh. and former leader. “We will need to provide training on best practices for leading on Zoom.”

OGA staff will meet with Salt Lake City convention planners as well as the Utah Presbytery next week to begin discussing the 226th Assembly and bring back financial implications for both plans at the November meeting. of COGA.

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