by MWS Leslie Smith Belden, Stated Clerk
Many thanks to everyone who participated in the first-ever technology-dependent meeting of the Presbytery of Arkansas. According to the feedback through the surveys (special thanks for those filling it out) the meeting was a huge success! Here are a few themes from the comments:
- Loved Rebecca’s sermon/message
- Loved Julie and Carol’s skit
- Really liked hearing from churches around the state and seeing photos from around the presbytery
- Deep appreciation for the planning and organization that went into the on-line meeting
- Really missed being in person
- Participants enjoyed being able to join from home, not having to travel, being able to have a presbytery meeting during COVID
- Would like to see more on-line meetings in the future – either one totally on-line per year (e.g. the summer meeting) or offer as an option to include with most/all future meetings.
- People really appreciated Marion’s remarks at the end, as well as Dr. Wynona Bryant-Williams’s and Becky Purcell’s reflections on their experience
The attendance at the on-line meeting was exceptional. Encouraging everyone in the Presbytery to participate and having a meeting with no driving time or the expense of staying overnight, made a real difference in who could “be” there. We had members of our Presbytery who live in Europe able to attend, as well as ruling elder commissioners with hearing difficulties who said that they could actually hear and understand those speaking through technology!
There were a total of 215 who registered, or attended, of whom 154 could vote. Not everyone was on-line for the whole meeting. Actual attendance in real time looked like this:
9:45 am 185 participants
10:30 am 187 participants
11:30 am 192 participants
12:00 pm 170 participants
12:20 pm 156 participants
These numbers compare with a total of 144 participants at the March 6-7, 2020 meeting at Lyon College, of whom 105 could vote; 165 at the October 4-5, 2019 meeting at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center, of whom 115 could vote; and 158 at the June 8, 2019 meeting at Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, of whom 117 could vote. The Coordinating Team will be reviewing the evaluations at their next meeting when plans for the October 23-24, 2020 meeting at First United Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville will be discussed. Please stay tuned for information about that meeting, as well as how we will center that meeting on the Matthew 25 focus of dismantling structural racism.