Disclaimer: My two greatest fears in life are being boring and being wrong. And being hypocritical. Okay, three. I fear I may be all of the above in this following post, but I will try my best to not succeed.
Yesterday was... it's really hard to be nice. The conference began with a laity briefing session that discussed the amendments from General Conference. The head of our delegation discussed each of the amendments, though very scattered. He didn't go in order of the amendments, or even in order of the way they had been grouped to make things easier. It was very confusing, and in the end he told us how to vote, saying we should only vote in 2 or 3 of the 32. I was shocked, at first, to hear him telling us how to vote (especially since a lot of people here are first timers and aren't used to the politics). However, toward the end of his time I became outraged when someone asked why, if these are negative things, did they pass General Conference in the first place, and their response was that by the time they were voted on, about 200 people had already left, and the rest of the people there probably didn't understand what they were voting on. What?? I would imagine that the attendants at General Conference who were fully present and completely understood that they were voting for inclusiveness, voting for Jesus' words of spreading the gospel to ALL people, resent that comment.
Laity address today. The lay speaker told us that if we're still angry over the "progress" last year, that we need to "get over it." We're supposed to be reaching children and youth, and yet the conference has alienated this exact group of active people by their decisions last year. And now, we're just supposed to "get over it." Get over being marginalized, get over being ignored, get over being pushed aside and had our work scoffed at, saying it wasn't ever enough. I think he has some other things to say that may be good, but it's really hard to listen to him after that. He made a big point of saying we need people of all ages to be involved, but yet, when we do get involved and are completely overlooked and ignored, we're just supposed to get over it.
Okay... I need to think about some good things. The report for our camping ministries was really good. It was during the laity briefing, so we haven't heard the actual report to conference. The issue has been with one of our two camps that had a criminal incident several years ago, and really, the conference became afraid of the safety of this facility, and got to the point last year of considering closing the camp and selling the property. Fortunately, a committee was formed to look at this camp and discuss what needs to be done with it. This is the report that we heard, and basically they said there's nothing wrong with the camp, it just needs facility improvements and programming support. The problem is not with the facility, it's with us and what we've done with it. He said that one camp does not have to meet all the needs of a conference, and that one can focus on the needs of adults, and the other can focus on the needs of children and youth. It was an encouraging report, to know that this facility for summer camps will hopefully continue, and be improved to serve children and youth better.