The assembly opened with worship at 1:00 Friday afternoon.
Before the official opening, the Rev. Doug Jones and Richard Ahlberg led an orientation session for new voting members.
Pr. Jones put voting members’ roles and responsibilities at the assembly in context historically, geographically and jurisdictionally, explaining how it all ties together.
“You are now part of the amazing history of God’s Church,” Pr. Jones explained with a slide in his PowerPoint presentation. Voting members’ presence at the assembly is a calling, he continued – a calling to conduct the business of the church and rule upon spiritual questions.
As part of the historical perspective Pr. Jones provided for this gathering, he mentioned the historical Councils of Nicaea and Trent, among others. At this “2010 Council of Leesburg” (the location of this assembly), “Who knows what could happen?” Pr. Jones asked.
First-time voting members learned about the functions of the departments and offices of the Churchwide Offices. The synod structure (Office of the Bishop and Synod Council) has a similar structure with offices and divisions.
Pr. Jones gave the topics for resolutions that will be introduced during the assembly’s business sessions.
On a humorous note, he advised voting members to choose caffeinated soda and coffee in order to stay awake and alert.
One purpose of this assembly, he concluded, was to provide voting members with opportunities for connections – with the church (gaining new knowledge of it and experiences in it), with other voting members, and with God.
Ahlberg, who is the assembly’s parliamentarian, explained the assembly’s use of Robert’s Rules of Order in conducting its business.
Following this, in the large plenary hall, the assembly opened officially with a brief worship service and the order for the Opening of the Assembly.
Among its opening business, the assembly received the report of the registrar from the Synod Secretary, who reported that present were 75 rostered leaders, 137 voting members and 23 visitors.