Monday, July 6, 2015

PCA General Assembly, 2015

At the Doulos Resources booth. Photo credit: Ed Eubanks

So here where I live, in the Los Angeles basin, you can tell you can tell how nice a neighborhood is by its trees. Trees take both water and real estate, and here in SoCal, both of those things costSo if you're driving down a tree-lined street - lots of trees and well-kept - then you know you're in a decent neighborhood.

This marker of wealth was no help at all when I traveled to Tennessee a few weeks ago.

TN is beautifully green. The trees are like weeds, but in the best of ways: they were everywhere. It was like you could hardly hold them back from overtaking the roads and buildings. So lush and verdant. I loved it.

Why was I in Tennessee?
Doulos Resources, the parent ministry of Kalos Press, the literary imprint I work for, had a booth at the PCA General Assembly, and I got to go and help out. It was an amazing week: I got to meet people I've been working with for years (in some cases), but had not yet met in real life: fellow editors, board members, and even authors! And they were all so welcoming. It was wonderful. I got to see a part of the country I'd never been in as an adult. I even got to have shrimp and grits for the first time!  (They were delicious, btw. And it didn't hurt that they were covered in cheese, bacon, and green onions.)  I got to learn more about my job and about the people I work with. It was a great trip.

Chattanooga, TN
The first day, I had no idea what I was doing. I tried to be useful. I tried not to be obnoxiously Anglican and Californian around all these kind and courteous Southern Presbyterians. I tried to act like I was very good at promoting books. (I’m not; I’m good at editing them.)

The Assembly shut the convention hall down every night in order for everyone to gather for worship, which I thought that was very cool. And my goodness, can Presbyterians preach! Great sermons. It was so good to be with fellow Christians, worshiping the Lord together.

The second day we hosted a signing of “Rooted”. That was a blast!  And it helped me feel more comfortable about the book-promoting part of my job, because I could imitate (a little) what those two authors did. I was really more comfortable in the booth for the rest of the week, after watching them. Felt like I got the rhythm of it.

Our next big event was a signing of Margie Haack's books. Margie's latest book was the first one I got to help edit when I signed on as the General Editor of Kalos, and so meeting her in person was a real treat. I enjoyed talking with her about books and church and a million other things.

Another treat was meeting some of the board members of Doulos Resources. I was privileged to sit in on their annual meeting. During that meeting - and, honestly, during the whole assembly - I was encouraged by how sincerely the people I was with seek to serve the Lord and to be used as He would have them be used. It's really an honor and a pleasure to get to work with people like this.  And listening in on them helped me to soak up the ethos of the ministry, which I think will help me going forward as I work on book projects for Kalos.

(I also got to learn a bit about the non-book projects Doulos does, stuff like "Flock", an app for pastors, and also free resources, like their Child Protection Plan for churches.)

I have to mention two other people I got to meet: Emily Hubbard and Grant Beachy. Both Emily and Grant are contributors to the upcoming book "Not Alone", and so I've had extensive email conversations with each of them. It was lovely to finally meet them in person.

But then there was the best part of the trip: going home. I've been researching the Old West for a writing project, and it was so strange to look out of the airplane window and watch the country that used to be crossed so slowly passing underneath us so quickly. 

When we reached Los Angeles, the city was completely invisible under the marine layer. The fog lapped the mountains and looked for all the world like a misty ocean bounded only by the San Bernardinos. So many people hidden. So much we cannot see.

But then I disembarked, found the right exit, and finally saw the one person I wanted to: Adam, waiting for me at the end of it, tall and smiling. So good. So very good.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


jen said...

Oh... to live in a place that is not scorched earth at the moment and where one can take long showers...

Jessica Snell said...

hear, hear!