I confess I was a little apprehensive as I prepared to go to Annual Conference this year. Our new Great Plains Conference has met before as we put together our new area but this would be the first official Annual Conference of the Great Plains United Methodists.
Some of my anxiety had to do with any “new” thing with all of its unknowns and uncertainties. A part of it was the increase in number of people attending and beginning of creating new relationships and friendships. Perhaps the biggest part of my anxiety was as the Chair of our New Conference Mercy and Justice Committee I would be responsible for bringing four resolutions to the Conference floor to be considered for adoption as official legislation.
There were four resolutions and we hope to get them posted on our own CHUM Website so you can look at them if you are interested. I was responsible for presenting all four of them, though as chair was able to delegate three of them to other members of our team and conference members.
The first of the four resolutions I presented on Thursday. A Public Education initiative designed to bring our Conference alongside our Nebraska and Kansas education system in support of public education, our teachers, and especially our children. With the current climate in the governments of our two great states and cuts to funding and teachers continually asked to do more with less under increasing pressure it is important for the church to step up in support of our educators!
The second resolution was a Christian Response to Gun Violence, which among other items in the resolution asked all United Methodist Churches in the Great Plains Annual Conference to become “Gun Free Zones.” The third resolution presented was for “Compassionate Immigration Reform” which included among other things a call for the immediate cessation of deportation which continues to break up families. The final resolution deals with “Healthy Families and a Healthy Planet.” This resolution speaks up for global support of family planning and healthcare for mothers and children. This is just a glimpse of the four resolutions and if you would like to see them in total you are invited to look at our website. http://collegehillumc.org/
Most importantly I am overjoyed in reporting that all four of these resolutions were adopted by our Annual Conference! These four actions, along with other encounters and conversations I had while in Lincoln, give me great hope and encouragement for the future of, at least, our Annual Conference. With all of my apprehension and anxiety it has been a long time since I have felt so engaged, connected, and part of Annual Conference as I felt this past week. It wasn’t just the outcome of the votes for the resolutions that fill me with hope and gratitude it was the tenor of the Conference in general. I walked away from Annual Conference last Saturday tired, but energized and enthused at the same time.
I have always felt such humble pride, if that is possible, for the last four years when my name was read as being reappointed to College Hill United Methodist Church and once again when my name rolled across the screen for the fifth time was filled once again with such an honor and privilege. But this year especially the atmosphere and tone of the Annual Conference seemed much more positive for me and for our “Not Your Ordinary Church!” That being said, we still have a long way to go in our Conference and denomination, but I am confident love will prevail in and through the work of those who continue to struggle toward a church that truly has Open Minds, Open Hearts, and Open Doors.
It is one of the many ways we seek to be mindful of the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the community. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table. Not Your Ordinary Church. Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.
Peace and Light on Your Journey,