April 27, 2024 - Update from Charlotte

Dear Friends,
This week has been as exhausting as anticipated, and it has been different than other General Conferences - in the best way. There is a spirit of joy, collaboration, respect, and belonging! In short you really feel the presence of the Spirit!

To catch you up: I am serving as a reserve delegate for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church at the General Conference of the UMC, and as the legislative steward for the Discipleship Committee (pictured above, I'm standing on a chair in the back). There are 800-some delegates representing the UMC from every area of the world. Anish Hermon, our Grand Poobah of Technology is serving as one as one of the lay delegates (more about Anish's role at GC later). We are meeting in the convention center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I will miss you tomorrow, but you better believe I'll be livestreaming to worship with Hope people, and hear Dr. Isaac Gaff bring the message! If you have not met Isaac, Hope Church has been blessed to welcome the Gaff family over the past year or so. We baptized and confirmed Cory Gaff, Isaac's youngest, last May.

I will be in Charlotte through next Saturday, getting home just in time to share a report next Sunday. Please continue to keep us in prayer.

All the Legislation of General Conference
Primarily this week, the General Conference is broken into 13 committees to sort through every petition, bundling redunancies, adding well supported petitions to the daily consent calendar, and getting more information when needed.

Anish served as one of the chairs in his committee and ended up working with a small team that included him and two highly published authors, Adam Hamilton and James Howell, on one project. It is worth noting that Anish is single-handedly providing WiFi for his part of the plenary floor, and for at least two committee rooms. Yes, there are paid tech people here, but Anish already understands the system better and can solve problems faster. Every conference and church would like to recruit him!

Each morning before committee meetings, we've met for worship and to vote on the consent calendar. In doing so, we have already adopted regionalization (which can make the United States its own legislative region) and part of the Revised Social Principles. In other words, we are moving quickly toward becoming an inclusive church. We're not quite there -- more to come next week.

Tomorrow will be a Sabbath day, and then we begin meeting in plenary all day on Monday. In plenary we follow our own Standing Rules as well as Robert's Rules of Order. Sometimes it feels a bit cumbersome to get to a vote, but it ensures voices are heard.

I'll add links to watch the livestream and/or read the legislation below.
Legislation: https://www.resourceumc.org/.../gc2020-daily-christian...
Live Stream: https://www.resourceumc.org/.../general.../live-stream
A Podcast Anish and I were on Tuesday, but feels like a lifetime ago: https://www.pulpitfiction.com/umcgc

And, all of the sermons/preaching have been great. If you listen to only one, I recommend the young people's address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-poe0qVxDvo

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