Stated clerk J. Herbert Nelson articulated a vision for the 223rd General Assembly well before Presbyterians arrived in St. Louis. At the 2017 Montreat College Conference, Nelson said: “I do not believe that the church can go into the General Assembly as it has in previous General Assemblies … spending expensive bills across the city sightseeing, and then leave the community no better than it was when we first came. If we continue to do that, we are committing a major sin. So beginning in St. Louis, we are starting something we call ‘Hands and Feet.’ We are going in with our hands and feet: to have teach-ins, … to do some work, make community gardens, do resiliency training … and the list goes on and on. Our test case will be St. Louis, we ought to perfect it by Baltimore [site of the 224th GA in 2020], and by Columbus [site of the 225th GA in 2022] it ought to be old hat.”

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