At 6:20 P.M. on Thursday, I walked out of the First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone for the last time until after Labor Day. This was the culmination of a long process of preparation and transition – in addition to all the work involved in getting ready for this time away, I also moved into a new apartment and office in the last month!
So after all this busyness, you’d expect me to stop and slow down a bit to begin the sabbatical. Well actually, I did anything but that! Friday morning, two friends and I left NYC to drive to Pittsburgh for the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). This biennial event is a blend of a week-long business meeting and a family reunion. I’m quite familiar with these events – I attended five consecutive assemblies in various roles while I was in college! – but that was all ten years ago.
Nonetheless, coming to General Assembly is actually an incredible way to begin this time away and apart. Within minutes of arriving in the convention center, I had run into old friends. Soon I was meeting people I know from Twitter or other online interactions but had never met in real life. By the time I had wandered through the exhibit hall for an hour or so, I had seen at least 25 people I know.
This is why General Assembly is sabbatical for me: it is a time to reconnect. I am seeing people I haven’t seen in many years, people who know me and care about me and want to know what I am up to. I am seeing people who I have never met in real life before but who know me from Twitter. It’s incredibly grounding and wonderful to find this kind of community here, and I can’t imagine a better way to begin this time away.