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[PCUSANEWS] Moderator has phat time in chat room

Date 16 Jun 2002 20:19:41 -0400

Note #7233 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Moderator has phat time in chat room
June 16, 2002

Moderator has phat time in chat room

by Jane Hines

COLUMBUS, OH - After being moderator of the 214th General Assembly for less than a day, Fahed Abu-Akel did a new thing: He spent one hour answering questions in the first PresbyNet chat room to feature an online moderator.  

 	Questions came in electronically from all around the church, and Abu-Akel took them all seriously, but he had fun with the process. With technical assistance from the PresbyNet staff, and support from GA staffers, the smiling moderator kept everybody relaxed while all the "bugs" were being exterminated for the inaugural online event.
Sitting at a computer at a table in the busy Office of the General Assembly headquarters in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the moderator was welcomed, challenged - and at one point even kissed - that by a supporter walking through the room. Through the whole unfamiliar process, he stayed cool.

The first question was: "If you could choose between an hour's conversation with President Bush and Pope John Paul II, which would you choose, and why? "

Abu-Akel replied: "I would like to spend half an hour with Bush and half an hour with the Pope." He went on to describe the suggestions he'd have for the president on healing the relationship between Palestinian Arabs and the Israeli Jews, and the gratitude he'd express to the pope for his leadership.

Asked, "What book is on your nightstand?" he said it is "What Unites Presbyterians?" by the Rev. Cliff Kirkpatrick, the denomination's stated clerk, a longtime friend.

 	The last question was a challenge: "A year from now, what would you want people to say about your year?"

Abu-Akel said he hopes to be able to look back and see "the Presbyterian Church (USA) growing spiritually, healthier in our unity, stronger in our mission opportunities; and I hope they will see it as a year of hospitality." 
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