Commentary: May You Fare Well Until 2016 General Conference

It is time to say “farewell”.

I look around. Sitting in the Pressroom, I see reporters typing their final reports in an intense motion. We are trying to capture every last minute action being taken on the floor. The General Commission on Finance and Administration reports were presented this morning.

I look back. What a “heated” time we had this past week. The Plenary of the 2012 General Conference dealt with quite a few “hugely” significant actions. Starting with voting down a set aside bishop, the delegates voted to eliminate guaranteed appointment. They also voted down the Bishop’s term limits petition. Then, the “Plan UMC” was adopted contingent upon the budget and judicial council action.

Yesterday, the General Conference witnessed a protest after the failure of a substitute motion to change the language around the denomination’s stance on “human sexuality “ (161F). Both delegates and observers were surprised by Indiana Bishop Michael J. Coyner’s announcement of an early lunch recess. People left in “shock” at the following announcement that the May 3 afternoon session of United Methodist General Conference would be open to delegates only. This decision was later reversed and non-delegates were allowed to be present at the afternoon session.

Voices were raised for and against a myriad petitions. Some won and some lost. I hate to use the win/lose language, but that is how many people seem to feel. There were tears. There were disappointments. Many lamented on the painful reality that is reflected in some actions. Many felt left out in the decision making process as there were backroom discussion and closed-door negotiations. Of course, some may say that is one of the best ways to make things happen.

I look ahead. How are all the actions taken going to play out? How is our future going to unfold? Now we embark on a journey toward the beginning of another quadrennium. I make my farewell and leave this General Conference with mixed feelings.

Fare you well until we see you again in Portland, Oregon in 2016.

(Photo Courtesy of Oregon Convention Center- 2016 General Conference Site)

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