I am doing this message a day late, as we finished so late last night we only had time to de-brief then hit the sack. So, here is how yesterday started:
Let’s vote to pi (postpone indefinitely) the amendments from last night
Let’s vote on the rule
Let’s vote to put another amendment on the table
Let’s suspend the rule so we can amend a rule
Let’s vote on the amendment
Let’s vote on the rule
Lets amend the rule
Let’s pass the rule
Let’s take out part of the rule
And on and on and on - and then the original rule was adopted with 92 percent! I was so frustrated - why would we spend so much time on the views of so few? But then I remembered: I am often the voice in the minority, and I want my voice to be heard. So I decided to get over myself and honor the process.
(I do have to admit that it was so mind numbing one of our delegates thought the electronic voting machine was a remote control and pointed it toward the screen when she voted! It didn’t change the channel though……)
And what a process it is! Legislative sessions have been a whole new learning experience for me; multiple languages, multiple viewpoints, multiple challenges. But we have a common goal: full and deliberate inclusion of everyone, so there is absolute joy in the process.
Even though today too was long with meetings, there were gems along the way.
The people I met and shared thoughts with:
The missionary couple from Peru (we actually conversed in Spanish!)
The pilot, also a missionary, from the Congo
The clergy couple from Ohio, formerly from the Philippines
The family from Sierra Leone, getting ready to celebrate their daughter’s
engagement in the African tradition
The lay person from Finland who had lived in Thornton as an exchange
student, attending Good Shepherd UMC.
Each person, each family with a story, and many things in common to share.
And then there were the gems of wisdom:
Do everything as if in the immediate presence of God
We cannot be tomorrow who we are today, choose your transformation
Doing what we have been doing isn’t working,
no matter how hard we do it
It isn’t easy, but it is simple - holding fast while letting go
Some of our churches have given up the Great Commission for
the status quo of “our” mission
As a lay person, it was a particular joy to hear the youth speaker, our own Krin Ali from Park Hill UMC. We also met four young men who survived a massacre in Africa, and were baptized in a cold river in New Hampshire -what a story they had to share. And finally, we got to hear a delightful woman from Zimbabwe, the first lay person from Africa to address General Conference.
And so, the experiences continues; exhausting, exhilarating, existential and God-filled. Please continue your prayers, as we are now headed for the deep waters.