Things are beginning to come together for my trip to serve as a Page at General Conference. I have my hotel (and roomate) lined up, flights to and from Fort Worth, and I'm beginning to get into the mindset of what it will take to be useful to the delegates, bishops, and observers of this interesting and monumental event.
Last night, while Kelly was at a meeting and the kids were in bed, I read through some of the almost 1,600 petitions that have been sent to the delegates--believe me, I don't envy those who have to read them in a more in-depth manner than I did! You can track specific pieces of legislation at the General Conference Website here. I am fascinated by the strange and sometimes downright crazy petitions that get sent to General Conference. For instance, there are two petitions (yes, I said two) that seek to change the wording of the Apostle's Creed. Apparently the Apostles didn't get it right the first time, so it's up to The United Methodist Church to put things right. There was also a petition seeking to hold lay staff members of churches up to the same moral (i.e. non-homosexual) standards that ministers are held to. Now, I actually have no problem with the denomination setting standards for ministers, but as far as I am concerned--I don't care who you sleep with at night, or what sort of relationship you are in--if you can do the job, you should be able to be hired by a local church, providing that the local church has no problem with your orientation or lifestyle.
Wow--that soap box can get pretty high sometimes; makes me dizzy. That's what I'm going to have to try to avoid as a General Conference Page. We received a list recently of the behaviors expected of General Conference staff, and one of them was that we are not to advocate for any cause or participate in any caucusing or lobbying. Fair enough. I'm looking forward to seeing G.C. from a different perspective this time. The last time I went, in Cleveland, I had no such restriction, and had a definite agenda as to what I thought should be the outcome of the Conference. Alas, we didn't rename ourselves "The Super-Wesley Bunch" then, and I don't think it's going to happen this time, either. (It's a joke--you're allowed to laugh.)
As I prepare, I invite all the readers of this blog (all three of you) to be in prayer with me: for the delegates, bishops, and staff of the General Conference, for the visitors to the Fort Worth Convention Center, and for the witness that we will make to the world in a few weeks' time that we truly are UNITED Methodists. Prayer resources for the Conference can be found here. Also, please pray for my feet and hips--which are always the first casualties when I have to be on my feet for long periods of time, which will happen a lot between April 22 and May 3.
Watch this space for updates,