Some words of thanks after General Assembly

July 19, 2018 by Lee Hinson-Hasty

For all who go to General Assembly, it is an exhilarating and exhausting whirlwind of the Holy Spirit, both at the same time. Even for extroverts like me, all that time together is intense, and when it’s all said and done, I need a little time off to absorb what I trust and pray is a job well done by all involved. I suspect almost everyone who goes to GA feels the same way. I am fortunate that I have had that opportunity this summer to decompress, catch up, and take some time off in the mountains of North Carolina.

I’m so grateful for a week of sabbath time with my family to hike, do pottery, play games, photograph, and catch up on the World Cup. Each of our ministries are so incredibly important, and it can feel like we are needed at work 24/7. But the truth is that’s no way to live – and it is in the living, the hiking, the dining, and the rest that we are recharged to do great ministry again.

Hiking in the mountains of North Carolina is a wonderful way to recharge and relax.

As I hiked some familiar and new trails with my family, I gave thanks for those that blazed and maintained those gorgeous and safe trails. I was reminded of trail blazers in theological education the Rev. Drs. Katie Cannon and Doug Oldenburg. We sent a video crew to film with both of them, to recall the highlights of the pathways they opened and those who have been influenced by them. Each offered treasured memories as well as hopes and dreams for the future of the PC(USA). Each received this year’s Excellence in Theological Education Award. You probably know their stories, but if not, you can read a bit about them here.

It was no less than divine providence that we did videos of our award recipients this year – as both are facing health challenges that prevented them from attending General Assembly. If you or someone you know missed them, pelase click or share the links below.

Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon video tribute

Rev. Dr. Douglas Oldenburg video tribute 

In addition to thanking Katie and Doug, I want to take some time to thank all of the others who described in winsome and wise ways the gifts that are Katie and Doug.

That includes John Kuykendall, John Cleghorn, Valerie Izumi, Catherine Gonzalez and Leanne Van Dyk, all who talked about Doug. Additionally, I want to personally thank Columbia Theological Seminary’s Department of Communications – specifically Michael Thompson – for shooting the video of Catherine Gonzalez and Leanne Van Dyk for us, along with video footage of the campus. You made our work so much better!

In Richmond, we relied extensively on the communications department at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Michael Frontiero helped us arrange interview time with Rev. Dr. Brian Blount and Dr. Dawn DeVries, and provided us with footage of Katie teaching and leading a service. We are grateful to Brian and Dawn for lending us their time. We’re also grateful to my friend Eniko Ferenczy, who told us about what it was like to have Katie as a professor. And we are so very grateful to Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes, Dean of the Vanderbilt Divinity School, for telling us about her decades long friendship with Katie.

These stories of those who have gone before us and paved the wider road to the pulpit are so important for us to know and share. We hope you’ll take the time to get to know these stories, and share then with those around you.

May we all give thanks for trailblazers in our life and world, dare to clear the way for others behind us, and all walk those paths again and again and be refreshed by the Spirit of the Living God.

May it be!