News from the 2009 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Editor’s Note: Jennie Adams sent her journal and photos from the 2009 General Assembly in Indianapolis, Ind.

Jennie Kennel Adams’ 2009 General Assembly Journal

Wednesday, July 29
The car trip to Indianapolis, Ind., was lengthy. Merritt and Linda got up around 4:30and were on the road from Pamlico County around 5:30. Jennie left from the Raleigh area with Bob and Elaine Kennel around 6:20 am. To get to Indy one has to travel from North Carolina through Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. That’s 11 to 13 hours, ya’ll. Just 10 days ago, Jennie was in Indianapolis via US Airways in just under 4 hours, and that was including an airport layover. Just about all comes back to time, energy, and money.

But the landscape was beautiful. West Virginia’s mountains are majestic, green, and precipitous. Kentucky’s rounded mountains are friendly, green, and calming and the roads sanely follow the rivers. From a native flat-lander’s point of view, being in the mountains is just a bit edgy. You can’t see around a mountain. Depth is added. I like seeing tobacco barns way off in the distance, and in a straight, flat line. Mountains are great for visiting, but Pamlico County is great for living.

After in-car meals of pita chips, peanut butter sandwiches, cherries, and granola bars, we all gladly walked to The Old Spaghetti Factory to share a really good, reasonably-price meal together. Then gratefully off to bed…fitful sleep for Linda for Merritt because they were unluckily located over working train tracks, with trains coming and going from the Amtrak station all night long. (Second night miraculously no trains arrived or left the station).

Thursday, July 30
Long registration lines….Occasional familiar faces (but this is my first General Assembly) Merritt, Linda, Bob, and Elaine seemed to know everyone….A lot of people…The Moderator reported that the Assembly was being attended by more than 7000 people, and it felt like all were in Assembly Hall C. There were huge screens in the front and middle. Cameras and microphones were strategically placed around the arena giving the common voter a chance to speak to the mass on the topics which were about to be voted upon.

The theme, to which all speakers tied their thoughts, was “for the Healing of the Nations” We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.”

The Exhibit Hall was packed with vendors and divisions of the Disciples programs. Almost all had free gifts for the asking. Bags, pens, hand sanitizers, mouthwash-sized cups of iced mocha….Church Extension gave out pedometers as their part toward monitoring wholeness of the body. So we all strapped them on and started walking. Since we don’t have sidewalks in Pamlico County, and since places to go are so spread out, few (other than Mrs. Julia) walk to wherever they want to go. Here you walk everywhere. Our hotels were also the furthest away. The Convention Center itself is about three blocks long. So by the end of the day, Linda had over 6000 steps, Merritt over 3000 (which had to be a malfunction ‘cause he was lock-step with her the whole time), and Jennie had almost 16,000 steps. (I walked down to the USA Gymnastics headquarters to pick up a Code of Points and do a little visiting; the offices, oddly enough, were in the Disciples of Christ building)

After going through the registration process, the first order of business was a presentation by the Sharon E. Watkins, the General Minster and President of the Christian Church. What a dynamic and engaging woman she is. I bought a copy of the presentation just to have for us about how the rest of the Disciples in the world work. The second order of business was the Business Session. It was neat hearing the reports, listening to the bill numbers and their presentations by the heads of the committees who had been working on each need. Few controversies were there on the first day. Run of the mill proposals…Few speakers for or against.

That night at the worship service, Cynthia Hale, of Decatur, Georgia delivered the sermon/address. Boy did she deliver! Major dynamic…She was like a cross between Faulkner’s “stream of consciousness and rap.” We were ‘raptly’ engaged. I was mesmerized with her cadence and rhythm and tag points, catch phrases that sped by. I bought that DVD also, needing to hear it two or three times, I think. Between the music, which I haven’t even mentioned (but makes up a huge part of the worship atmosphere) and the totally awesome speakers, we were immersed in worship. Tired with having to think and tired of body we all headed to our rooms around 10:00. Great day.