Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Annual Conference part 2

So the next big issue we had to deal with was of course the issue of sexuality.... because there is nothing else of importance going on in the world..... on Friday we dealt the petitions that we want to send to General Conference that removed all of the anti - homosexual language from the discipline. This is of course an issue that I care very deeply about. This is the issue that makes me question if I want to get ordained the most. It was kind of ironic to me that we had services of repentance and reconciliation the two previous days for discrimination in the past, but we are still participating in that discrimination, so much for learning from our mistakes. Well in order to discuss this hot button issue we used the circle process. We were assigned tables, so that we could hear from voices we wouldn't normally have heard from, and then each person sitting at the table was given time to talk. yet as a truncated circle process in that we were only allowed 3 minutes at a time to talk. at my table we made it around twice. There were diverse views on the subject. Overall I think the process helped to allow more people to be heard. It definitely didn't change any one's vote but there were no screaming matches. I am happy and proud to report that we passed all the petitions. They will most likely fail at general conference, but it is a start.

Again Of course we weren't done with the homosexuality legislation. There were some resolutions before us on Saturday. We did not use the circle process for these and the theatrics began. You know it just amazes me the venom church folks spew. Especially pastors. I don't care where you stand on the issue there is no reason to be hateful in your words. Especially a pastor. Do they not realize the damage that they are doing? Especially to young adults? Children are killing themselves because even their pastor does not care about them. That is very troubling to me. A pastor stood and said something to the effect that people need to enter marriage for the right reasons as if all heterosexuals enter marriage for the right reasons or all homosexual people enter for the wrong reasons. What really triggered me though was when he said if we allow gays to get married the next thing we know we will be allowing people to marry their dogs. I am not quite sure I understand that argument. Why is it every time we talk about homosexuality, people against homosexuals make the comparison to bestiality and pedophilia? If you have to stretch that far to make the argument maybe your argument isn't that good. The dog comment drew me to the microphone though. I was quite angry but we had respectful speaking rules given to us by the bishop and I am a new candidate for ministry so I was respectful and to the point. And simply said that the church should recognize any two people who wanted to confess their love and commitment to each other before God. I wanted to say more but I knew if I said anything else I would get very heated. So I chose not to. I did receive some thanks for what I said. Happily those petitions passed as well.

The one issue at conference that I got so upset about I had o leave the room was unexpected. We were dealing with giving churches media grants to put screens and power point into churches. I could not believe the number of people who argued against it. It was troubling to me because media helps bring in youth and young families. I have seen how much the PowerPoint because we are a dying denomination. It helps connect people to the service. Even something as simple as it lifts people's heads out of the hymnals and the singing is so much brighter. Anyway the media grants went down in defeat. It just makes me sad our churches had the opportunity to connect with a new generation and turned it down.

The best part of conference was the social aspect. I got to meet a lot of pastors and did some hanging out with people I would have never thought I would have spent time with. the fellowship was definitely the highlight of conference. I have even more respect and admiration for my mentor, who by the way was elected as one of our two clergy delegates to General conference. I made some connections that will be nice to have and a lot of pastors who have offered their support to me. That time spent away from legislation was invaluable for me.

So now I am in prayer for my conference and for those whose conferences are yet to come.


Sally said...

Thank you for this insight into Conference.... interestingly it sounds very similar to Conference over here in the UK- similar issues even...
keep on praying- keep on keeping on

Serena said...

so relate to your frustrations! Prayers for you as you prepare for ordination, and as you play your role in leading the church into the future as a relevant, and inclusive body of Christ