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IGRC 2007, Day 2

June 8, 2007

At left you can see a gorgeous, unedited cameraphone snapshot of the floor of IGRC at the Peoria Civic Center in all of its semi-Orwellian glory!

Okay, that comment was uncalled for and purely in jest. It’s not that depressing and Bishop Christopher is nothing like Big Brother, but the room does seem kind of gray and empty for worship. Great for business, drab for worship. The walls are bare and some large, well made banners would make a great, inexpensive augmentation to the space for worship.

Day two was marred by technical difficulties with the voting process for General Conference. The first ballot took much longer than expected to tally, and when all the votes were counted there were problems with the tabulation that rendered the first clergy ballot invalid. Since I don’t have a vote I didn’t stay in the big room for a lot of that process and instead went to the Cokesbury stand where I purchased Vital Signs by Dan Dick. It looks like a pretty great book so far.

I ran into some old acquaintances, including the folks who serve the Wesley Foundation at SIU-C. They took a financial hit this year (like every year) and wonder whether they’ll be able to afford air conditioning this summer. I’ve seen some of my old Eden classmates. I’ve prayed for less business, less arguing and more “holy conferencing.”

We passed a resolution that allows the conference to purchase a new residence for the Bishop. Last year it was voted down overwhelmingly but this year it passed handily because the residence could be purchased at no cost to the local congregations. While a new residence for the Bishop is well and good, it leads me to ponder a conversation or nine that I’ve had with some other pastors who are more experienced than I am. One said that it’s a shame when younger pastors with children and families tend to serve smaller, poorer churches with smaller parsonages with fewer bedrooms and more maintenance issues while many older pastors whose children have moved out live in larger, newer parsonages. It would be great to see the conference take on a mantle of stewardship for smaller parsonages and help out churches that have difficulty maintaining, upgrading and repairing theirs. Within the connection it is vital that we view stewardship as a two way street; in order to be good stewards of the connection the local congregations are called to be stewards of the conference and the conference is called to be faithful stewards of the congregations.

Yesterday was also the sad day, with the brief memorial for churches in our conference that have closed.

Today will largely be focused on our connection with the annual conference of Liberia and with Africa University. Having been to West Africa, I look forward to that, and I feel a profoundly deeper passion for the continent and its people.

One Comment leave one →
  1. John permalink
    June 8, 2007 7:21 am

    It’s my first AC, so I found it fascinating. The best part was seeing so many friends and colleagues from so many different settings all in the same place.

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