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222nd General Assembly (2016)

F.A.Q.

 

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General

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  1. Where will the assembly take place?
    The business meetings, exhibit hall, and most other official events will take place at the Oregon Convention Center in downtown Portland, Oregon.

  2. What is the schedule?
    The 222nd General Assembly (2016) will convene with worship at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 18, and adjourn by noon on Saturday, June 25.

    The proposed docket includes more information on the official assembly meetings. Please also review the Schedule of Events for the complete list of assembly activities, which includes many other optional events and meals sponsored by various entities and organizations. These can be good ways to learn about church programs, meet other attendees with similar interests, and hear outstanding speakers.

    Some of these events require tickets, which can be purchased as part of the registration process. The deadline for advance ticket sales is June 3.

    Opportunities abound for spiritual nourishment at the assembly. The assembly opens with worship on Saturday, June 18, 11:00 a.m., where Moderator Heath Rada will be the preacher, and communion will be celebrated. Preachers at the daily worship services are Jerry Andrews, Larissa Kwong Abazia, and Alice Ridgill. Bishop Reginald Jackson of the African Methodist Episcopal Church will preach at the Ecumenical Worship Service on Wednesday morning.

    On Sunday morning, June 19, all assembly registrants are invited to worship with Portland area congregations that are making special arrangements to welcome them. Transportation is provided to those churches that are not within walking distance or accessible by public transportation, and most of the churches are providing lunch to their assembly guests on that day. Advance sign up (offered as part of the GA registration process) is required in order to arrange for transportation and lunch.

    On Thursday of the assembly week (June 23), the Stated Clerk invites all assembly participants to wear some article of clothing (t-shirt, hat, scarf, etc.) that represents a mission activity of their congregation or presbytery. You can begin now making sure that you have something to wear on that day that shows the grand variety of Presbyterians engaged in mission.

  3. Notice, Photography
    The General Assembly represents the bond of union, community, and mission among Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations and governing bodies. As such, individual Presbyterians and many others are interested in the work and activities of the General Assembly.

    Photographers, reporters, videographers, historians, scrapbookers, and many others will be capturing cherished moments at this gathering of the church. By being a part of this event, you may find your image, voice, or quotes used in reporting or promotion. The Open Meeting Policy of the PC(USA) calls on us to conduct our ministries in this spirit of openness, trust, and public scrutiny. By attending and participating, you give Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, its affiliated institutions, related entities, and ecumenical partners permission to use your image, voice, feedback, and quotes on a perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable basis in any and all media including, but not limited to, websites, print, cable, and broadcast media without submission or re-submission to you for approval. You understand that third parties accessing web pages can download your image, voice, and quotes, and you release Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, its affiliated institutions, related entities, and ecumenical partners from any liability to you, your heirs, or your assigns in connection with or arising out of such downloading by third parties.

    Using a camera, camcorder, or tape recorder is permitted during conference sessions, provided that participants in the meeting are treated with courtesy and respect, the photographer does not obstruct the view of other participants, and camera flashes or other lights do not interfere with participants or proceedings.

    During worship or other times of prayer, all participants and members of the press should be respectful of the sacred nature of the event. Photographs made with the use of existing lighting are permitted in these services if taken unobtrusively and without disrupting either the service itself or individual worshipers. Flash photography is not permitted.

    We ask that those taking photographs or other images using children as subjects assure that the child’s identity is protected, or receive permission from the parent/guardian.

  4. I have a disability or other special circumstances related to my participation in the assembly—what do I do?
    The Oregon Convention Center and the assembly hotels are accessible by wheelchair and provide other accommodations for participants and guests with disabilities. The light rail cars are accessible by wheelchair, so participants may select from any of the assembly hotels and have a walk of four blocks or less. The G.A Meeting Service makes every effort to take special needs into account in making hotel assignments—please include any pertinent information when you register.

     The following services are provided at the assembly:

    • Headsets for amplification during business meetings and opening worship (these may be checked out from the Special Assistance Counter outside the plenary hall in the convention center.
    • Real-time captioning of business meetings and worship services.
    • Sign language interpretation during opening worship (and at daily worship and business meetings if this service is requested).
    • Braille copies of worship services (available at those services).

    If you have a need for these or other services, or have a health condition relevant to your assembly accommodation and/or participation, please indicate this when you register, and contact the G.A. Meeting Service gameetingservice@pcusa.org at 888-728-7228, ext. 2417 so that we may arrange assistance.

    Contact the G.A. Meeting Service for information on renting a scooter or wheelchair if you will need one to participate fully. The Office of the General Assembly covers this cost for commissioners and advisory delegates.

    During the assembly, a Special Assistance counter will be located in the convention center, next to the Information Center, staffed by volunteers from the Committee on Local Arrangements.

  5. Will there be language interpretation?
    Volunteers will provide simultaneous Spanish and Korean interpretation during the business meetings. Please indicate that you will use this service when you register.

  6. How can we “give back” to our hosts in Portland?
    Assembly attendees are invited to bring a gift to benefit a mission designated by our generous hosts. The Committee on Local Arrangements (COLA) of the Presbytery of the Cascades has selected the Oregon Food Bank (OFB) as the recipient of these gifts.

    Although Oregon has a rich agricultural heritage, it consistently ranks near the top of states experiencing hunger, and about half of the households that are food-insecure include children. SNAP (food stamp) benefits typically do not cover food needs for a month, and many families have to rely on food pantries to supplement their nutritional needs. The Oregon Food Bank (OFB) does great work in helping to protect Oregon and southwest Washington families from food insecurity, and attacking the root causes of hunger.

    OFB has been the recipient of national awards and recognition for its work in alleviating hunger in Oregon and Clark County, Washington, for more than thirty years. OFB partners with the food industry to increase donations from farms, retail outlets, and fisheries. In addition to distributing food, OFB works to address the root causes of hunger by offering nutrition education, strengthening local food systems, collaborating with community groups, and advocating for hunger relief at the local and Federal level. See additional information in the Schedule of Events under the Monday, June 20, Mission Tour opportunity.

    Because OFB can stretch contributed funds to support many more meals than with contributed foodstuffs, the COLA is requesting monetary gifts. Contributions by cash, check, or credit card can be made on-site at the Gift Project table that will be located in the convention center, or you may contribute securely now via the Virtual Food Drive at http://engage.oregonfoodbank.org/goto/GA222. Please be generous!


Registration

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  1. Do I need to register to attend the assembly?
    The assembly is an open meeting, but in the interest of safety and security, admission to business sessions is normally limited to registered participants wearing an official assembly name badge.

    On Saturday, June 18, visitors are encouraged to come for Opening Worship and stay for the rest of the day. Badges will not be required for those who wish to observe the afternoon and evening business sessions on that day.

  2. How do I register?
    If you are an official participant whose assembly expenses are covered by one of the GA agencies (commissioners and advisory delegates, staff, elected members, and others representing one of the six agencies), you will receive an email from the GA Meeting Service with registration instructions and a link to on-line registration. This is a unique link that recognizes your assembly role as you register. Be sure to use this email and link to register on-line. These official participants are urged to complete their registration by April 15 to confirm plans to attend and request a hotel reservation.

    Official participants representing mid councils and theological institutions must register in advance, and will pay the $95 registration fee (along with fees for any tickets purchased) as they register.

    Theological institution presidents, synod executives and stated clerks, and presbytery executives (or their designees) and stated clerks who are eligible for assigned seating in plenary sessions,must complete their registration by April 15 to be assigned a seat and included in the Roster of Participants.

    Observers may register in advance and pay the $95 advance registration fee if they wish to reserve a room in one of the assembly hotels. Tickets to optional events can be purchased as part of this process.

    Observers who are not requesting lodging in an assembly hotel may wait and register on-site. The on-site registration fee is $30. This fee is waived for attendees for whom it would be a financial hardship, and for children age sixteen and under accompanied by a registered participant.

  3. What are the registration deadlines?
  • April 15—for commissioners, advisory delegates, agency staff, and mid council and presbytery staff who are to be assigned seating in the business sessions
  • May 16—for other participants who are requesting assembly housing
  • June 3—for advance registration and ticket sales
  • June 3—cancellation deadline (registration fees, less a cancellation fee of $25 or 15 percent of total registration/ticket fees, whichever is greater, are refundable if notice of cancellation is received by June 3). Other than for canceled events, the G.A. Meeting Service does not refund payment for ticket orders canceled after June 3.

Do NOT delay—hotels may be filled and functions sold out before the deadlines. 

Event sponsors reserve the right to cancel events if a minimum number of tickets are not sold on or before May 9.

4. My spouse/partner/friend/family will be with me; do they need to register?

They are welcome as observers; they are not required to register as assembly participants, unless they plan to observe assembly business sessions on any day after Saturday, June 18, when an assembly name badge is required for admission to the business sessions.

The assembly registration process includes the option of registering others as family members. Use this option to register someone as an observer and pay the $95 advance registration fee. There is also the option of registering someone as a guest as part of your registration—this allows you to purchase tickets for your guest(s) to assembly events (without registering them as an observer and paying the $95 fee).

You may also wait to register guests on-site, and pay the $30 on-site registration fee.

The on-site registration fee is waived for those for whom it would be a financial hardship, and for children age 16 and under who are accompanied by a registered attendee.

5. I only want to purchase tickets to events; do I need to register?

You may purchase tickets without paying the $95 registration fee; you will start with the same on-line registration process, but select the “Tickets Only” Role at that step in the process.

6. How do I change or cancel my registration, housing request, or ticket order?

Changes and cancellations to registration, hotel reservations, or ticket purchases cannot be made on-line. Contact the G.A. Meeting Service gameetingservice@pcusa.orgor 888-728-7228, ext. 2417, with any changes to your plans after your registration is submitted. Registration fees, less a cancellation fee of $25 or 15 percent of total registration/ticket fees, whichever is greater, are refundable if notice of cancellation is received by June 3. 

Registration fees paid by a presbytery, synod, or theological institution can be applied to someone else from the organization. Contact the G.A. Meeting Service to work out these arrangements. 

Other than for canceled events, the G.A. Meeting Service does not refund payment for ticket orders canceled after May 30.

7. Who can I contact if I have other questions or need help registering?

The staff of the Office of the General Assembly is ready to assist and to answer your questions:

G.A. Meeting Service email - gameetingservice@pcusa.org

G.A. Meeting Service toll-free number   888-728-7228, ext. 2417


travel and Lodging

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  1. How do I make travel arrangements?
    Portland is easily accessible by most major airlines and Amtrak.

    The Portland Airport (PDX) is located about ten miles (thirty-minute drive) from downtown.

    Amtrak (Amtrak.com) may be convenient and cost effective for some. The Portland Amtrak station is in downtown Portland, accessible to the convention center and assembly hotels by public transportation or a short cab ride.

    Commissioners and advisory delegates and others whose GA expenses are covered by the Office of the General Assembly or the Presbyterian Mission Agency are receiving an email with instructions and a link for booking airline reservations through Concur (an on-line booking tool) and Azumano, the assembly travel agency, so that the fare is charged to the appropriate GA budget. Commissioners and advisory delegates should review the Registration Information and Travel Expense Policies and Procedures before making travel plans.

    Others may book their travel to Portland directly with an airline or travel agency.

    If you wish to use Azumano Travel, call 800-777-5149. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific, weekdays. There is a $25 service fee in addition to the ticket cost.

  2. How do I make lodging arrangements?
    Rooms are blocked at twelve hotels located in downtown Portland. Rates range from $125 to $173 per night, plus tax (currently 15 percent).

    Assembly registrants, including observers, are eligible to request lodging in these hotels at the special assembly rates. For a reservation, complete your assembly registration as soon as possible. Please do not contact these hotels directly for reservations.

    The registration process includes Travel and Lodging sections where registrants will indicate their arrival and departure dates, their preferences among the assembly hotels, and other information needed for the G.A. Meeting Service to reserve lodgings.

    You may designate a roommate when you register—make sure that he/she registers promptly, as the hotel reservation cannot be made until both registrations are completed. For commissioners and advisory delegates, the G.A. Meeting Service can match you with another commissioner/advisory delegate if you wish to share a room but do not have a roommate.

    The assembly guarantees arrival for guests who reserve lodging in an assembly hotel through the G.A. Meeting Service, so you will not need to provide a deposit to the hotel. Allowable hotel charges are direct billed for commissioners and advisory delegates and other official participants whose expense are paid by a GA agency. Others pay the hotel directly for their room and tax and other charges when they check-in.


Meals and Dining

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  1. What about meals and dining?
    Six group meals are provided for commissioners and advisory delegates during the assembly, and some additional meals are included in the orientations for advisory delegates.

    There are concession areas in the convention center, restaurants in the assembly hotels, and many other restaurants and other dining outlets in downtown Portland—at all price ranges.

    Many of the optional events scheduled during the assembly include a meal—you may order tickets for these with your assembly registration. Order tickets as soon as possible, as some events sell out. The deadline for advance ticket sales is June 3.

    If you have food allergies or other special dietary requests, please indicate these when you register, or contact the G.A. Meeting Service gameetingservice@pcusa.org (888-728-7228, ext. 2417).

  2. What is the meal per diem?
    The meal per diem for commissioners and advisory delegates (for meals other than the group meals provided during the week) is $50 ($12 for breakfast, $13 for lunch, and $25 for dinner). Most G.A. agencies follow this amount for their staff, members, etc., but those representing one of those agencies at the assembly should consult their agency about allowable expenses.


Ground Transportation

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  1. Is airport transportation provided?
    The Portland Airport (PDX) is located about ten miles (thirty-minute drive) from downtown. Portland’s TriMet Red Line http://trimet.org/schedules/maxredline.htm provides light rail transportation between the airport and downtown, and assembly participants are encouraged to use this convenient, accessible, and cost-effective ($2.50 one-way) option.

    Other options include a commercial airport shuttle service ($14 one-way) or taxi ($35–$40 one-way).

    More detailed information on airport transportation services will be sent to all registered participants a few weeks before the assembly.

  2. Is transportation provided between the convention center and hotels?
    The five hotels of the east side are within walking distance of the convention center—though light rail is also an option for transportation to the Doubletree Hotel.

    For the seven hotels on the west side of the river, some may enjoy the walk of 1.5 miles or less, but Portland’s excellent public transportation system also connects these to the convention center and hotels located on the east side of the river. All those who register in advance as full participants will receive a TriMet pass that will provide for complimentary rides on Trimet light rail, streetcars, and buses through the end of the day on Saturday, June 25.

  3. What about parking downtown?
    There is ample parking at the convention center; the rate is $10/day. https://www.oregoncc.org/visitors/parking-and-directions

    See the assembly hotel information for parking rates at assembly hotels. TravelPortland offers information on other parking options in the downtown area. http://www.travelportland.com/article/parking-in-portland/

    Note that parking charges are not reimbursable for most participants.

Business

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  1. How can I read the reports and recommendations that the assembly will consider?
    The reports and recommendations of assembly entities, overtures from synods and presbyteries, and various resources are available through PC-biz, the electronic system that all interested persons can use to access assembly business before, during, and after the assembly. Material will be added throughout the spring as it is received and edited.

    During business sessions and committee meetings at the assembly, most official participants will use laptop computers or tablets with WiFi accessibility to access PC-biz and read and track the business and the assembly’s actions on it in real time.

    Commissioners and advisory delegates who are unable to access PC-biz to read reports in advance or use a laptop or tablet at the assembly should contact the G.A. Meeting Service.


Children and Families

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  1. Are there arrangements for children at the assembly?
    The activities of the General Assembly are open to all ages, but an assembly is primarily a business meeting with very long and busy days. Children may enjoy the exhibit hall, a few of the mission tours, and a few other parts of the assembly, but few particularly family-oriented activities are planned and child-care options in or near downtown Portland are very limited.

    Parents are encouraged to carefully consider whether to bring their children to the assembly. Consider arrangements with family or your usual child-care providers.

    On-site child care is not available during the General Assembly, but for those who do bring children to the General Assembly, the OGA is working with the Committee on Local Arrangements to provide for a Family Room in the convention center, open during the hours of plenary sessions and committee meetings. It will not be staffed; parents may spend time with their child(ren) there. It will be equipped with rocking chairs, refrigerator, changing table, and other appropriate furnishings and equipment.

(1) Comments

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  1. Is there a way to view the video taken at the beginning of the opening service of worship at GA? It was very moving and the music was spectacular. I'm sorry to see it was not in the posted video on line. Thank you.

    by Michael

    June 22, 2016

     

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