Annual Conference strikes me very much like Thanksgiving. The anticipation builds as you prepare to spend four days with the extended family. The excitement lasts about half a day until you look across the dry turkey and realize you will be spending the next three days with Uncle Harold. Harold snores, and because of the cramped sleeping arrangements, I have to share a bunk room with him.
As we gather our extended Methodist family together, we’ll deal with a lot of issues and those issues will raise questions. You may find yourself asking the same questions or some new ones:
- Does any Conference Committee on Finance and Administration actually say no to new funding requests? Does any CF&A Committee actually know how to remove something from a budget? It’s great they hold the budget to a 2% increase each year – but 2% every year for eternity adds up. Remember this – when delegates vote a conference budget increase, they vote apportionment increases – that means tough budget decisions at the local church level. Apportionment increases, pension increases, health insurance increases – the local church cuts programs and pay raises to make it fit – what does the conference cut?
- If selling alcohol on Sunday (the Lord’s Day) is a moral issue, then why isn’t selling alcohol on any other day not a moral issue? Saturday is the Sabbath. Christmas Eve is on Monday in 2007. Good Friday is on, yes, a Friday. In America, isn’t it a moral issue to deny people the right to vote on this issue? That’s all the legislature wants – to allow local communities to choose.
- On a lighter note, isn’t it great that Annual Conferences now do a day of service in the host cities? Isn’t it even greater that they offer a golf tournament that raises money for charities on the day of service? (Especially since those folk would be playing golf on the day of service anyway?) Now that was brilliant!
- Do I really want to vote for a delegate who wants to go to General/Jurisdictional Conference too much?
- Isn’t a night off at Annual Conference terrific? A night of free time to catch up with friends over a relaxing dinner and night out – it’s more brilliant than the golf.
- Could we go one year without actually forming a new committee or task force? If we do establish one, is it too much to expect them to do their work in one year?
- Why does the Cabinet report have to tell us how many miles they drove last year? Do I need to know how many times they would circle the globe? Just a thought – if you leave that kind of stuff out, your 15 minute report might actually be 15 minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Annual Conference. Getting together with the extended family is a wonderful experience. Just don’t fault me for being glad when it’s over – it’s nothing personal – I just don’t care for the snoring.