The conference has dealt with about 75% of the petitions. Most of that was done with consent Calendars. But nearly all those calendars (list of petitions with very little opposition) are completed. Now we take the remaining ones singularly. We have about 120 petitions to complete, and with the legislative time left, that gives us a max of 10 minutes per petition. Yea, like we will hold to that! The last days are going to be hectic.
Important items can be passed on consent calendar. One of the items done that way today was a change to our membership vows. Now we are to ask if people will serve Christ with their prayers, presence, gifts, service AND WITNESS (capitalized words were added). This petition was brought by the association of conference lay leaders.
Opening worship today was great, and not just because my girls were singing in the choir. The music was of great variety (including probably the first rap song every sung at GC) and the sermon by Bishop Violet Fisher was powerful. She spoke on the woman at the well (John 4) encouraging us to be aware of positions of privilege and to recognize how God opens grace to all. We have heard some excellent preaching at this conference.
Then we heard the report on Africa University. While there are calls for us to recognize and give support other United Methodist school in Africa, there obviously is still a lot of pride in AU, and there is a lot to be proud of with the school. It was good to hear the school is able to “survive” in the harsh economic and political climate of Zimbabwe. And it was good to be reminded how graduates from AU are serving throughout Africa.
Then we began the difficult work on petitions relating to homosexuality, etc. First, one from Ministry Legislative Com called for retaining our present Discipline language that prohibits ministers from performing civil unions. It passed. Then we passed a new resolution on homophobia. More is in store for the afternoon.
We had a moment of celebration before adjourning for lunch. It is the 100th anniversary of the United Methodist Men. Several statistics were given showing the important of men having a significance impact on the faith development of their families. They repeated that men can Make a Difference. I immediately thought of Trinity’s early Tuesday morning bible study where we call ourselves M.A.D.Men meaning “Men who Make A Difference.”