Hello From Tampa!
April 29, 2012, 7:11 PM

Greetings from Tampa, Florida and the General Conference of the United Methodist Church!

Wow!  General Conference is an amazing thing.  In 2008 I attended some of the last General Conference in Fort Worth, but I didn’t attend the committee sessions and only one of the plenaries.  This year I’m doing it all! 

Here are a few of my impressions:

We are part of a world-wide church!  There are lots of delegates from other countries.  I get the feeling I’m at the United Nations.  It is wonderful!  The translators are working hard to keep everyone connected. What a blessing to have sisters and brothers in Christ together in this special way! I met the conference UMW president from Cote D’ Ivoire.  We were both thrilled to meet one another.  She spoke a little English which was good because I don’t speak French at all, but we didn’t need any language to share Christ’s love.  I knew she was a sister just by her smile!

Robert’s Rules are not dead! In the legislative committee and in the general session, the work is very precise and complicated.  Everyone leading these meetings has to “know their stuff” about parliamentary procedures. I’m in awe!

United Methodists are good people!  There are many controversial issues being considered and at least to this point, even if there is disagreement, I haven’t seen any meanness. I pray we will continue work together in love.

United Methodist Women are leaders! I’m so impressed by the things we are doing in Faith, Hope, and Love in Action.  I attended an Immigration/Justice Rally this afternoon co-sponsored by UMW.  We were calling for justice for immigrants. The UM Church is shining the light on the private companies who run many of our prisons for state governments.  Companies like Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group have influenced politicians to pass laws that criminalize communities of color to increase the prison population for more profit. Now they seek “guaranteed occupancy” from state governments. UMW are working to change things.  We are working for justice!

Also, the display area for UMW is an empty space with a sign that says the money it would have cost to have a display was used to fully fund the seminary education of two female local pastors in Cameroon.  I think that is a great way to tell our story!

I’ll write again soon with a General Conference Update. Please pray that we will act as God would have to act. Thank you for your love and prayers.

Blessings,

Cynthia

 
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