Kilen Gray, Dean of Students at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Baptist minister, make sure he attends General Assembly every time it’s held. Find out why.
Well, I serve as Dean of Students for Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. This is my 6th year, this current academic year. I am also pastor of the New Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Shelbyville, Kentucky where I’ve served now for 29 years.
When I was hired on as Dean of students here, although I had attended Louisville Seminary as a graduate student, I knew absolutely nothing about Presbyterian life, Presbyterian history, or in particular the PC(USA) and so I made it my business to go to GA. I think that, you know, having from my own denominational background and having experiences with other colleagues who are from other denominations. For me it has always been a major meeting of that denominational body that capsulizes the quality, the flavor, the collective personality of that group. And I thought that if I’m going to support PC(USA) students here at Louisville Seminary I’ve got to go to THE meeting that says, ‘this is who we are, this is what we are about, this is what we struggle with, here are the key issues that we allot to us, here is how we argue, here is how we debate, this is how we think hard about important issues that deeply affect us’.
And so I made it my business to go to GA and when I go I blow my budget with GA all the time because I want to go from the first day to the last and what has been profoundly impactful to me is the depth of the struggle, the depth of the conversations, the deep commitment and passion to order. And with that order to really think together hard about important issues. Nothing is done in lightweight fashion with GA and so the beginning of my desire to go to GA was to serve and still is to serve the PC(USA) students here at Louisville Seminary. I became captured by the process and by the committed focus of the delegates that come and so I look forward to coming every time.
If you’re able to come get any aspect of it that you can. If you’re able to stay the entire time that’s the best way to see it from beginning to end. I recommend the full week, the full time of General Assembly, but if you’re not able to do that whatever amount of time that you can do you really get a good picture. Maybe not the entire picture of any entity but the main meeting when all the family comes together is a good way of really getting to know what you’re a part of.