Shall we gather at the Publix …

I found a way to save the UMC goo-gobs of money. Don’t bother with renting out a huge convention center to hold General Conference – just send everyone to the grocery store.

About a five-minute walk from the Tampa Convention Center is a Publix, the only grocery in the area. And since we all started to arrive in the run-up to General Conference, that Publix might as well be United Methodist International Headquarters. I’ve been in Tampa 36 hours and have already been there three times. Hey, two weeks on the road and you’re going to need some supplies.

So every aisle you turn down, you see pals from other general agencies or annual conferences. Maybe a throng of African delegates. Perhaps a bishop or two. Even if you don’t know them, you see the telltale GC2012 nametag. We all recognize we’re in the same group; we smile and wave and say hi.

And yet, not long from now, some of the same folks being cordial to each other in the produce section will find themselves on opposite spectrums of some pretty contentious debates. We’re supposed to observe Holy Conferencing, and I hope that promise stays intact after passions and tensions run high.

Maybe it would be easier to find common ground not on the plenary floor but at the grocery store. After all, we have different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs, but we are all united by one truth.

None of us can figure out where the plastic utensils are.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Local Church
The Rev. Lovett H. Weems Jr. Photo courtesy of Wesley Theological Seminary.

Young elder numbers hit record low

Annual clergy age study by Lewis Center confirms downward trend for United Methodist elders under 35.
Church Growth
The Rev. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo. Photo by Mutsa Roy Maforo.

Virtual church is the new ministry paradigm

The shift from physical gatherings to a “church without walls” was deemed unthinkable just a few years ago, but COVID-19 lockdowns fast-tracked the practice of online ministry.
General Church
The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, speaks about the pandemic and the proposed denominational split during an interview at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn. The church will host 2021 Leadership Institute on Sept. 29-Oct. 1 with a focus on helping pastors and laity address divisions in their communities. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Adam Hamilton: Leading in polarized times

Ahead of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection’s 2021 Leadership Institute, UM News spoke to the Rev. Adam Hamilton about the pandemic and proposed denominational split.