It is after 10 PM central time and we have 25 petitions left to address. The agenda called for an end of Gen Conf at 3:00 PM today. That was a joke. During the supper break (of 2 and a half hours - why so long I don't know!) I found an easy chair on the upper level and took a nap. That turned out to be a good choice. I feel OK as we plod along, and plod is the correct word here.
A high point for me was the action we took on allowing Deacons the ability to provide the sacraments in certain circumstances. I thought it was dying, but then a colleague moved to refer it, giving us another chance to speak in favor of the petition. I support it because, as I said, in our Methodist movement form has always followed the function of ministry. Wesley ordained Coke, Vasey and Whitcoat because the people in America needed the sacraments. We allow Local Pastors to provide the sacraments because the people need them. We do ministry with people and keep adjusting our forms to accommodate our ministry. Some Deacons are in places of ministry where the ability of offering the sacraments truly meets the needs of the people. The Deacon has to receive the approval of the Bishop for the particular ministry setting, and I know this makes us keep working on our understanding of the Orders of ministry, but I think it is in keeping with who we are.
Wow. Kathleen Baskin -Bell, the chair of our Ministry and Higher Ed Legislative Committee just took the podium and said since it was her last petition to present she wanted to say hello to her son back home who is watching by webcast. Then she took our hearts by sharing personally:. Some of what she just said was: "This church of ours is absolutely the greatest blessing in my life and my family's life. In my battle with cancer these last 14 months we have known no greater joy than the fellowship of the church." I couldn't catch all she said, but what a witness. Battling cancer, and knowing time could be precious, she took all this time away from home to lead us here because she believes the church is the best hope for her son, and for the world.
It's a long road, to finish conference, and then the drive home tonight. Well, we won't make all the 1400 miles, but hopefully we'll get to Shrieveport.