Former commissioner to PCUSA Assembly offers ‘GA HELP’ to this year’s class

In anticipation of the first “paperless” Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, Charlotte, N.C. pastor and 2008 GA commissioner Robert Austell wants to ensure that participants are fully equipped for the strenuous week.

Hoping to help GA commissioners sort through an immense amount of information on dozens of complicated issues, in addition to an exhausting schedule of meetings, events and votes, Austell created the GA HELP web site.

The idea grew out of his own GA experience in 2008, when he spent much time scrambling to help other commissioners navigate the PC-Biz Web site, where overtures, reports and actions are posted.

“The biggest surprise for me was realizing how hard it was for the average commissioner to follow what was going on,” Austell said of his first GA experience. “I spent a fair amount of time going up and down my row helping people. … The average commissioner is an older adult who isn’t necessarily familiar with computers – it’s a struggle to track all of this business.”

When the assembly meets in Minneapolis, Minn., this July, PC-Biz will completely replace the voluminous commissioner binders stuffed with paper copies of essential information.

For more information about GA HELP, e-mail Robert Austell at [email protected], or check out the site at