Today was much slower. We had a number of delegate ballots and some more technical difficulty. In the process of getting everyone to input the right numbers and getting the machines calibrated to their users, the clergy managed to elect the 10 General Conference delegates that we are allowed plus 4 or 5 Jurisdictional Conference delegates. The laity lacked one when we concluded business today. Tomorrow the clergy will elect the rest of the Jurisdictional delegates as well as 5 alternates. The laity may be there until Saturday.
By the way, for those of you who don't know, Jurisdictional Conference is the intermediate level of structure between the Annual Conference and the General Conference. It is made up of a number of Annual Conferences. Oklahoma is in the South Central Jurisdiction. The most critical function of Jurisdictional Conference (not to say that their work isn't important) is the election and appointment of bishops. Each Annual Conference is led by a bishop. Together, all of the bishops make up the council of bishops. No one bishop has more authority over the others. One is elected President of the Council, but only serves to direct their work together.
Some of today's highlights were:
- The Children's ministry report. It was a high point only because Sponge Bob Squarepants was on the platform during the presentation of awards for children's ministry.
- The Campus Ministry report. It was a high point for me because it reminded me of where I came from. My call to ministry was realized in a campus ministry. My first real chance at working in ministry was in a campus ministry. My first appointment after seminary was part-time in a campus ministry. I had a passion for campus ministry from college through seminary and into my second appointment. Now that passion has been quenched. I loved campus ministry and wish I had the passion once again.
- Africa University report was very stirring as we heard about where it has come from since 1992. They have graduated over 2,000 students in that time. Some of the students from the Africa University choir have been singing at Annual Conference this year.
- We heard about many ways that our churches can participate in ministries of help around the Conference: Cookson Hills that ministers to the impoverished in the Cookson Hills region around Tahlequah; Skyline and Restore Hope ministries who work with the homeless and impoverished in Oklahoma City and Tulsa; Project Transformation is a literacy program; so many great things that we make possible as United Methodists.
Since I am completely wasted, I'll make this one short (there is much more to be said). I will continue to update with things that happened and maybe more pictures. Tomorrow is the final day and it starts early. Peace