This is a response to comments over on Pomomusings, who took up our cause and continued to ask questions about the welcoming nature of the PC(USA). If you are interested in where this started you can read my wife's posts here and here and if you're interested in helping us gather more information about childcare needs for commissioners and observers to future General Assemblies please fill out our survey.
Here is my response to Matt:
As I am the person that created the survey, I thought I'd chime in here to my and my wife's motives.
I think that my wife and I have been humble, hopeful, and engaging. We started by contacting the individual at the OGA and got no response, waiting two weeks. (maybe that wasn't long enough) After not hearing anything, my wife posted a blog on our site explaining the situation and asking others to contact, Tom Hay. Several did so and got quick responses. Mr. Hay then responded to us and we began a dialogue with him about possibilities, challenges, and information. Following those conversations I contacted Pittsburgh Seminary, PCCCA, First Presbyterian Church--Pittsburgh, and then Crestfield Camp. After getting some energy and some ideas my wife posted a second blog offering the options that we had for those interested.
Nothing happened. We said, "maybe this isn't really an issue." When we came to General Assembly with our children, we saw 15-20 strollers at opening worship plus another 20-30 young children. In fact, we passed one man who was looking for childcare and ironically asked us.
We realized that this WAS an issue and we wanted to work to help those people with children, teaching and ruling elders, commissioners and observers an opportunity that they might not have otherwise. That's when the survey came about, as we started talking to those people with children, we thought having some actual data, or at least anecdotes, to support our thoughts would be helpful.
So far this week, we have spoken with COLA for Detroit, OGA, and PCCCA about next General Assembly.
We are not asking for free childcare, but that would be nice, we are asking for some support. Whether that's a rocking chair in the family restroom for nursing mothers, a children's area for worship, a summer camp experience, licensed and bonded childcare workers, etc. we are hoping to make some inroads on this issue trying to make it a little more welcoming to those with kids.
OGA has provided forms of childcare at Big Tent and the Multi-cultural conference so it IS possible. I am willing to make as many phone calls, send emails, talk to whoever I need to talk to in order to take the weight of logistics off of OGA and COLA, but I need some help because ultimately it will be them that implements the plan.
That's what we are asking for, some help.
(BTW my parents live about an hour away and were itching for family time. So childcare wasn't an issue for us in Pittsburgh, but figured it was bigger than just us, we're lucky others aren't)