Wednesday, May 07, 2008

12 good things about general conference

I realize that my last three posts related to general conference (gc) reflect a fair measure of pessimism and even cynicism. I am by nature an optimistic and hopeful person, and there were some amazing people at gc. So, to strike a balance, and in order to move myself into a new place, a highly subjective listing of 12 good things about general conference, in no particular order. This will also bring closure to gc for me. It is time to move forward.

1. The speech of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia.
2. The leadership of Rev. Okoko of the Congo, who chaired my sub-committee in Global Ministries, and our translator, Mary Lou. And several of the participants in our sub-committee.
3. The report on Hurricane Katrina.
4. Higher Education Night, especially the combined college choir.
5. The funds raised for Nothing But Nets.
6. The Laity Address--basic, direct, to the point.
7. Shortening the length of the probationary process into ordained ministry, from three to two years.
8. A strong statement against torture, and a more balanced perspective on Israel and Palestine.
9. The Encounter With Christ in Latin America and the Carribean Dinner.
10. The humor within the close quarters of our delegation. We came up with a "Reality Show" cast populated with the ten persons who spoke most frequently. If you were there, you will have no trouble coming up with the names and home conferences.
11. Reconnecting with friends across jurisdictional lines, like Bob Hill (Boston), Phil Amerson (Chicago), Art McClanahan (Iowa), Doug Mills (NY), and David Mosser (Texas), and others, and getting to know people on the bus commute in each day, like Pat Day of Shreveport and Sheila Cumbest of Mississippi. A brief conversation with Adam Hamilton, and a consistent lunch bunch that processed it all. Dinner with Tom Butcher, who has a great vision for new churches in our denomination. Lunch with my own Bishop, Lawrence McCleskey, and also with Bishop Schnase. And seeing friends who will gather again at Junaluska in July for Jurisdictional Conference.
12. On a lighter note, the Fort Worth cuisine, especially at Billy Bob's, and a couple of walks along the Trinity River.

Some of this was the core stuff of gc, some was around the edges. It is an amazing experience, and it is, finally, the work of the people, offered, imperfectly but steadfastly to God.


Blogger Mar Vista Mustang said...

I found myself continually moved by the sight of the African delegates. Nearly every one of them came to Christ through the efforts of generations of missionaries. I felt a great blessing in being able to see in my time the result of all the sacrifices performed by individuals who in an earlier age left the comfort of home and family to take the Gospel into parts of the world that were barely charted. The missionaries went out with great faith that their travails wouldn't be for naught. Consequently, the faith of the missionaries has grown into a very large tree in Africa.

12:13 AM  

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