Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More thoughts on General Conference

So I am trying my best to keep up with the events of the 2008 General Conference. I realize now, just keeping up with the plenary business as it is streamed live on the Internet (kudos to the UMC for technological improvements) that these 10 days of discussions and committees are just a whirlwind of activity, emotions, and information. I really can't imagine at this point in my life being a delegate at GC and I have a tremendous respect for those who take on this heavy burden.

I can tell that the wear and tear of GC is getting to some of the delegates. There have been hints of sarcasm and cynicism in the body. This is not progressive nor Christian. I hope and pray that the delegates can continue to discuss and debate the issues of our church in a respectful manner despite fatigue and frustrations.

Today there has been a lot of discussion in the area of episcopacy. A petition (#81432) that called for a change in the number of bishops in the jurisdictional conferences basing the number of bishops on membership was passed by a narrow margin 457-401. The results of this petition would reduce the number of bishops in all jurisdictions, except for the Southeastern, by 1 and thereby saving money in the episcopal fund opening monies to bishops in the Central Conferences. I do not like this legislation for several reasons. One it puts even more emphasis on numbers, as if there was not enough focus on numbers. If you attend enough district and conference meetings you will hear a lot about increasing numbers. I believe that if we worried as much about helping people as we do about increasing numbers then the numbers would come. Secondly, our bishop in the TN Conference is also the bishop in the Memphis conference and therefore we hardly ever see him. Bishops have too much on their plates already and this will only add more burdens to the episcopacy. Also, although the Holy Spirit is doing great things in Africa and Asia and they are in need of bishops to lead new congregations, we cannot ignore the congregations in the US although the majority of them are losing members. We have to work together to makes disciples of Christ.

No comments: