This is a descriptive post about the San Gabriel Presbytery vote on Amendment 10-A this past Tuesday, May 10th, a deliberation that was preceded by a matter of mere minutes by the tweeted (and infinitely re-tweeted) announcement of the decisive 10-A vote result from the the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.
Before out meeting began, I was unofficially charged by the Executive Presbyter to watch for a Twin Cities result, so I spent most of the afternoon checking the #pcusa and #ptca Twitter tags. I celebrated with @mayog that @charlesawiley was with us, addressing our debate and leading our worship. and I broadcast his pearls of wisdom. I trumpeted @revsap’s floor speech to the world. I offered a lighthearted commentary–“scruple is a verb”–and I received in my Twitter flesh the punishment for my sin from @adamwc: “screw scrupling now.”
While moderating the CPM report, my phone buzzed in my pocket. Taking a calculated risk on my perception of the room’s distraction, I checked it: a tweet from @trindlea in which I’d been mentioned. As in, “@yorocko moderating . . .” I chuckled and scanned the room. @trindlea was hiding in plain sight.
We had the result before our debate began, and although we were prepared to respond if someone should announce the result from the floor during debate, nobody did. We debated for about 45 minutes along all the usual lines of argument, then we used pale green paper slips to vote.
During the dinner break, I used Face Time to call up some of our church’s elders who was unable to attend the meeting. The other commissioners from our church passed the iPad around and updated them about the proceedings.
Also during the dinner break, my colleague had a small audience around her phone, watching a video just posted by the Moderator of the General Assembly about 10-A’s passage.
At the close of worship, we read from an iPad the story from the denomination’s website confirming the success of the amendment before the benediction.
Media connected the church gathered.
Media connected the church separated.
I can unambiguously say that these tools made this exercise better than it would have been otherwise and better than it has been in the past.
My experience yesterday afternoon was a demonstration of the vitality and connection that social media technology can engender in the church. In the face of the doomsday scenarios being advanced already, that experience makes me hopeful and gives me something to point to and say, “Look how we love each other.”