From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 20 Jun 2002 09:14:42 -0400

Note #7284 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:



By John Underwood

COLUMBUS, OH - Pop quiz: What setting comes to mind when someone says "Youth Retreat?" 

If you answered anything other than General Assembly, you haven't met the young adults of Setauket, NY (about 50 miles east of Manhattan, on Long Island). These young people were planning a retreat for spiritual growth, personal discovery, time with God and community with one another. They found all those things in Columbus, where they're attending the 214th national Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

"Fantastic! - Or is it fabulous!" said Kim Kahnhauser, who just finished her first year at Georgetown University In Washington, DC. "I had no comprehension of all the issues and all the mission" that are part of GA.

The experience is a little different for Kim
Kavazanjian, who's exploring a call to ministry while awaiting the start of her junior year at Bates College in Maine. A year ago, she was the YAD from the Presbytery of Long Island at the 213th GA, in Louisville. This time she's a visitor. "Things don't seem quite as large - quite as overpowering - as last time," she said. "It's easier to focus on the issues I really care about."

Kim's return to GA has included looking in on hearings of the GA Committee on Health and Social Issues. At one point she couldn't help going to the microphone to express her opinion on a matter she cares about.

The young adults came to Columbus with the Rev. Jeff Geary, associate pastor of Setauket Presbyterian, for whom the trip is a kind of "pay-it-forward" pilgrimage: He first experienced GA as a youth who went on retreat with a group of young people from Chicago Presbytery to the 1986 Assembly in Minneapolis.

The commissioners could take a lesson in cost controls from the Setauket retreaters, who have managed to limit their out-of-pocket expenses to two tanks of gas, a couple of turnpike tolls, and a bit of fast food. They're sleeping on a church floor, graciously provided by Highland Presbyterian Church. They made the driving time productive by devoting it to a study of predestination, the Book of Order and PC(USA) missions. They've enjoyed lively fellowship and fun by attending GA-related events such as the Witherspoon Society's party.

If you don't get a change to meet Kim and Kim in Columbus, reserve a room for next year's Assembly in Denver. They've become instant GA junkies, and they're determined to meet again in the Mile High City next May.
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