Simple Gifts

Somehow, today I emerged as the new Presbyterian comedienne.


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I began my takeover of all L3: Listen, Learn, Lead social media early this morning. From the get-go, I was able to exist at the center of the Presbyterian twitter-verse with gems like my tweet above! In all seriousness, my first proper day at the 222nd General Assembly was amazing and eventful, and above all, was intimately informed by my involvement with L3, how L3 has developed my leadership, and how it has informed my sense of calling.

This week, I am#GA222 and will not be able to attend my Great Uncle Joe’s funeral. I remember sitting around the dinner table at my Grandma Marie’s  giving my political opinions when I was 15 and taking a government class for the first time. Uncle Joe said, albeit in a joking tone, that “Maybe you should be a politician.” He had confidence in me and faith in my beliefs that I don’t even know if I had myself. In Portland, I reaffirmed my baptismal calling and call as an advisory delegate. In a sense, I am now a politician, though not the type Uncle Joe implied I should be.  This memory was brought to mind as we sang “We Shall Overcome” for friends we’ve had and friends we’ve lost in our opening worship. I was brought to tears as I recognized that God places clues in our lives about our Calls.

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Today, I wanted to talk about these little clues, or “simple gifts” from God, as it were.  Sometimes this gift is the ability to make a cute joke, as I did above.  And sometimes, the gift is the song, “Oceans,” first introduced to me in college by two women on my freshmen year floor.  We sang it today as the General Assembly, and I remembered the way that those two women, sophomores who were and are my friends, guides, and mentors, affirmed to me that a secular university does not need to make you secular. Indeed, they opened me to new ideas and the new ability to strengthen my faith in that setting.

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I am also incredibly grateful for God pushing me towards the campus ministry I got involved with. Certainly, without Rev. Holly Ulmer, our Chaplain, I would never have gone to a presbytery meeting and I would not be sitting in Portland right now. This was another simple gift. The first activity that I remember doing with United Campus Ministry during the second or third week of my freshman year was to think of all of God’s signs that point to your calling. I had no idea of what to say. Today I saw directly all of God’s “simple gifts” that brought me to this Call at GA. The only way I was able to notice them today was because of my involvement in UCM and L3:Listen, Learn, Lead.  This leadership development and campus ministry experience “equipped me” to serve today and in the upcoming week.

This is what the Presbyterian Church (USA) has done for me. I only hope that after #GA222, PCUSA will be empowered to do this for so many other young adults too.  I look forward for the week ahead and will be on twitter constantly and here once a day!

I would also like to give a special shout-out to Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston for being elected as the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America’s first EVER CO-Moderators! Just another one of God’s gifts to us all! As the YAAD from National Capital Presbytery, I feel especially touched that God put me in this place to know these amazing and special women.

Peace and Blessings,

Courtney Steininger

L3 Intern


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