I attended the two day conference of the North Alabama Conference. Usually this conference starts on Sunday afternoon and finished late Wednesday afternoon. However, not many of the lay delegates could come or all you got were the retirees. So our conference last year shortened by one day, and this year it was shortened to the two days. The Memorial Conference was moved to Thursday night and to one of the churches. That was well attended and it was a good service instead the sterility of the college Coliseum. We women had our clergywomen gathering right after the service in the parlor of the church. That was nice too. I think it was one of our better gatherings. The Bishop even joined us for awhile. Then the next day we started the long day of Friday. A lot of us were concerned that elections though would lead to a long weekend. The last elections took a whole lot longer than planned for. I felt like we were running through the business pretty fast almost at light speed with little discussion. We had no Bibles study, no workshops and fewer worship services.
Bishop Huie spoke to us about the changes that are going on in the Texas Conference. As I listened I thought to myself, "It won't be long that we will be doing some of the same things."
She also preached at the Ordination service. She was imaginative and creative, well spoken. Boy is she a dynamite. The commissioning service will be done later at another church. Bishop messed up though the ordination of Jan McCarver, I think he must have forgot what she was being ordained for. But that will be corrected.
The next day was a quickie too. We did finish the elections. I had to leave early because of the girl's had a Dance Recital, that I was not going to miss even for the conference. Now something you need to know is that last year we had a big argument over one of the petitions that came before the conf. this petition was to tell the President to end the war. The same petition came up again. The person from the petitions committee did a good job presenting it, asking us to stop and pray for those who have died in the war. It was very moving. The Bishop brought up that he had lots of letters about last year's discussion, and so he did not want us to have a discussion again. That just ruined the tone, because our conference has always had a history of discussing things sometimes pretty heatedly, but coming out on the other end. Everybody was pretty upset that we could not discuss, he even used the Roberts Rules to keep that from happening. But then one of the Pastors out maneuvered him and brought an amendment to it. The amendment basically took out the language of telling the President what to do and took out the time line. Well it passed, and the Bishop was fed up. Two other people at that point stood up to speak. One of them started saying that maybe we needed to think about what sacrifice we could make and he basically shut him up. Well don't you know then the conference was pretty mad at the Bishop. You see we have history of being able to speak and be listened to. Usually we have one for the and then one against, like that. That is all he had to do. You know we are students in a class that you tell us what to think and what to do, and be quiet. I spoke to the man about what he was trying to say. I know this man very well. Good fellow, bright, thoughtful, worth listening too. His son is a Marine in Iraq. What he was trying to say, is okay, instead of just saying we are for peace, lets to something, find out what is needed in Iraq. How we can make things better and do it. You know I think he is on to something. I suggested he present that next year. Start now finding out how we can help, how we can do something and present it. I don't like war anymore than anybody else, but I think writing the President and telling his to cease fire, and withdraw immediately is not the only answer. I think we the people need to begin to give and help too. I don't remember it being so bad last year, but that was a year ago. I do think that a fair discussion is okay. But with limited time like this was set up for, there is little time for discussion.
The place we met was great, I have no complaints. I don't even mind making possible for lay people who work to be there. But what would it mean if we just go ahead and met on Sunday too. Go ahead and give enough time for what has to happen and be taken care of. Have lay speakers or retired ministers preach. I think it was too short of time.
Now to the elections. I am going to put the results of the clergy elections up here, and you tell me what you see and think....
I will say we had more mission moments that were really inspiring. We had good ministry reports also. I would say over all it was a good conference.