>Annual Conference was held at Greenville, NC again this year from June 13 – 16th. I am a little behind on my annual blog report, but just in case you were looking for it, here are this year’s highs and lows:
- Worship, fellowship, and old friends – always a high point in my book.
- Bishop Marion Edwards preaching on Thursday night. I have to hand it to him – he brought it!
- My lovely wife, Denise, attended annual conference for the first time since my ordination as an elder back in 1997! She traveled down on Thursday, met me for dinner and came to the evening worship service before making the trek back to Durham.
- Greenville. Sorry to all the “wish we were still in Fayetteville” crowd. I really am enjoying the change in scenery. Looks like we will be heading back to Greenville again next year for a third time.
- Still making improvements on housing. Dee Gidney, RUMC’s lay member was able to bring her adult daughter and grandson down with her to stay in a suite at East Carolina for a small additional amount.
- People watching – I have to confess that going to annual conference in an election year is rather entertaining. Everybody scrambling around, politicking, and jockeying for position and votes. A friend of mine wanted to stand up and make a motion that we go to a lottery based system next quadrennium. I think the idea has a lot of merit! Every eligible lay and clergy person could receive a number at the beginning of the conference and all the numbers have a corresponding ball that goes into a big ball cage on the platform. We then say a prayer, have a drawing – and whaalaaa – delegates to General Conference! If it was good enough for the Apostles, it should be good enough for us! Take the poll on the right side bar of this blog and let your voice be heard!
- Record breaking length. As usual in an election year, clergy drag their feet while the laity do their business and move on. This year the bishop had to dismiss the laity and go back into executive clergy session just to finish voting! When all the business was finished except for the balloting, clergy resorted to open mic stand up comedy (pastors telling jokes on the annual conference floor). Rumor has it that a rather shocked spouse called her clergy husband to remind him that the entire conference still had a live streaming feed on the internet!
- Fannie fatigue – sorry, but it plagues me every year. I also get a case of what I can only call “nervous legs” – which requires me to get up, stand, or stretch more often than others seem to need. Is there some way we can make annual conference less sedentary?
- The impulse to do away with holy conferencing and move to monologue style reporting. This impulse seems to get worse each year. Contrary to what may be becoming a popular sentiment, our annual meeting is not just a rubber stamp for everything that is done prior to the conference. Think we also need to be careful who is picked to give some of those reports, as they are not always given with the greatest charity and generosity of spirit.
- Roberts Rules – never liked them, and have always thought they were an obstacle to genuine Christian conversation. This year the rules truly heeded rather than helped us – and this time, most of the annual conference floor noticed. The annual conference could choose to order our meetings differently if we had the nerve and desire – this, like everything else, does not have to be rubber-stamped on the first day.
- Not much ethnic diversity in the elections, at least coming from the clergy side. The more our communities in this conference change, the more we choose to stay the same. It is a rather sad commentary.
For those who want to a blog by blog account of this year’s conference, make sure to check out the official NC Annual Conference Blog here.