Dear Friends, For me, Annual Conference is about reconnecting with friends and colleagues. This year the business part was meager, but some very deserving people received recognition and awards. The spouse lunch was great and pretty well attended. This year I sat next to a friend whose spouse is an active-duty chaplain in New Orleans, where they continue to struggle with the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina and, now, the oil spill.
Annual Conference is more like a big family reunion than anything else. And it comes with all the same surprises and dysfunctions. It really is like a gathering of the clan of The United Methodist tribe, as our speaker Len Sweet reminded us.
This also struck me about Conference. Len Sweet painted a vivid picture of what the church can and should be. That perspective is helpful, because sometimes we only see the hard realities and the folks who get ground up by the system, left bleeding on the floor. But insight into what the church should be also makes how the church sometimes acts even more unbearable. Still, it's really all about Christian friendships and reaching out to find the Christ in others, even if He is only there with prevenient grace.