For the first time in General Assembly history, there are more white women than any other group serving as commissioners. The 224th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has 44%, in fact, with white men composing 35% of commissioners. The remaining thirty percent are Black women (5.6%) and Black men (3.8%), followed by Asian men (3.4%) and Latina men (1.6%) and Latina women (1.4%).
The 478 commissioners fall into a wide age bracket: 21-82 years of age. The average age is 59. They are connecting across six time zones, from Alaska to the Atlantic. Most (55%) are connecting from the Eastern time zone. The time zone spread for attendees is 12 hours — ranging from Hawaii to Central Africa and Europe.
Of the 251 teaching elder commissioners (or TECs), the majority are white women and men, followed by Asian men, Black men, Black women, and Latina men and women. The average age of TECs is 53 years old; the youngest is 28, and the oldest 75. They are live-streaming across five time zones.
Ruling elder commissioners (RECs), 252 in total, follow the same trend with the majority being white women (43%), white men (34%), with Black women at 8.3 percent and Black men at 4.4%. The largest age group serving is between 63-70 years old.
There are 83 commissioners over 70 years old and 26 commissioners under 35.
Young adult advisory delegates (YAADs) connect from seven time zones, but more than half reside in the Eastern Time Zone. The majority are white men and women, between 17-23 years old by standing rule. About 40 presbyteries did not elect a YAAD for this assembly.
In addition, all 149 advisory delegates, which include 127 YAADs, six ecumenical advisors (EADs), and seven mission advisory delegates (MADs), and nine theological student advisory delegates (TSADs), fall between 17 and 63 years old.
Sherry Blackman, a journalist, poet and author, serves as the pastor of The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, as well as a truck stop chaplain at the Travel Center of America in Columbia, New Jersey, a validated ministry of Newton Presbytery.