GA 2010: Symbolic and real water flows at opening worship service of 219th General Assembly

Dancers embodying the four directions and processional banners symbolizing living water heralded the opening worship service of the 219th General Assembly in Minneapolis, Minn., today (July 4).

Images of living water surfaced several times during the service, from new Moderator Cynthia Bolbach’s stole and the liturgical art created by Shawna Bowman, a member of East Iowa Presbytery, to the waters of the fount where Alexis Renee Sanders was baptized before the assembly and members of her congregation, Kwanzaa Community Church, Minneapolis.

The theme of living water echoed the scriptural theme of the assembly from John 7:38, Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water, one of the texts for the sermon by Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly.


“The world around us is changing, and it means you and I have to learn how to be Presbyterian again,” he said.  “You and I are going to have to look very different if we want to engage the world.”  “We should say, ‘There is a new way of being Presbyterian in the future, and we should be ushering that in.’  We should be open to moving that mountain.”

Reyes-Chow addressed the struggle for belonging experienced by both old and young in the church, challenging the assembly to listen to the spiritual yearnings of young as well as old.

“Christ opens up amazing places, and even out of brokenness we find healing and wholeness, even out of these wanderings that we may feel, we can find some pathways,” he said. “Christ begins to say, ‘There is a new way to be.’ You can hear it, the mountains are trembling, my friends. Let us not be surprised by what God will do.”