I’ve gone back and forth about whether to attend General Assembly this year.
At first, I was planning to attend in person. I have enough money in my professional expenses budget. I was looking forward to those informal interpersonal interactions that happen at conferences. On the other hand, it looks like it’s going to be expensive; I’m estimating a low-end cost of $2500 for five days, and I’m not sure that’s the best use of my congregation’s limited financial resources. I also admit that I’m still COVID-scared, and the thought of being cooped up with a couple thousand other people doesn’t sound good to me.
Of course I could attend General Assembly online. But the agony of sitting for hours in front of my computer screen for what promises to be a fairly low-quality experience does not seem appealing. Especially since it will be almost impossible to have any of the informal interactions that make in-person conferences interesting.
I feel like I should attend, one way or the other, just to be part of the business meeting where we will vote on the proposed revision to Article II. But at this point, it looks to me as though those revisions are going to pass regardless of what I vote. And my congregation has shown little or no interest in the Article II revisions, so my vote would only represent my personal opinion, not their collective opinion.
Probably my strongest feeling around General Assembly this year is cynicism. Which surprises me. But I haven’t been feeling good about the Article II revision process. I felt uninspired by both the draft versions I saw; and my congregation is still focused on recovering from the pandemic, with no time to spare for denominational politics. I don’t want to feel cynical. So my decision on whether to attend General Assembly will probably come down to this: which course of action will make me feel least cynical? I’ll let you know how that turns out….
Update: The board of my congregation would like me to attend, in order to vote on the proposed Article II revisions. Now I have to decide if I attend in person, or online.