Monday, July 21, 2008

Life List

It's time I came up with a life list. ( I will keep adding to this as I think of new things. Here's to the start of something beautiful!

1. See the grand canyon.
2. Be a mom.
3. Direct Ragtime.
4. Write and teach a Harry Potter curriculum.
5. Be on NPR.
6. Have a party in my beautiful backyard. (It's not yet beautiful!)
7. Travel to Italy, France, Germany, and Austria.
8. Learn to make a Wilton Flower.
9. Cook a meal without screwing something up.
10. See the Great Barrier Reef.

Ten to begin...more to come soon!


We have our bishop returning. I had heard that we and our sister conference were not pleased with him, and that we all wanted a new bishop. But he was reassigned to our area for four more years.

I did go to his reception, figuring it would probably look bad if I didn't. And when I shook his hand, he actually asked me if I was glad he was returning.

I smiled, paused, and responded "Always."

I'm not a quick thinker. I can never come up with the right response at the right moment. Later, I think of hundreds of things I should have said. Some cordial and appropriate. Some not so much.

"I'm glad you won't be leaving on a bad note."

"I'm glad we'll have four more years to work out our differences." (thanks, Ginny!)

"I'm pleased you'll have four years to try to rebuild the bridges you've burned."

"I hope you'll use your time to engage the youth and young adults you have shut out."

"I'm glad you won't be destroying another conference's youth and young adult ministries."

But what did I say? "Always."

So, here's to "always." Whatever that means.


We did get Friday afternoon off. Friday morning we passed the budget. A budget that reduces the amount of money given to each ministry in the jurisdiction by 25% each year for the next four years, so that by 2013, we as a jurisdiction will be putting no money into any of our ministries.

Read that paragraph again.

A proposal of reorganization was brought to the floor that reorganized the SEJ, basically making the three facilities (Lake Junaluska, Gulfside, and ugh, I can't remember the name of the third!) "Agencies" of the jurisdiction, with the intention that they would be self-sustaining by 2013. Gulfside was severely damaged by Katrina, so the committee that brought this proposal ensured that care would be given to Gulfside, and that the self-sufficient deadline could be extended if necessary.

What they did not clarify was their idea of self-sufficient. They want the ministries of these assemblies to be self-sufficient. And they include the summer youth events that happen at Lake Junaluska under the umbrella of Lake Junaluska, not under the ministries of the SEJ.

They also included hispanic, native american, and african american ministries under this, too, and intend for those ministries to be self-sufficient by 2013.

So...where are our apportionment dollars in the SEJ going? Well...they'll be going to pay off the debt for repairing the dam at Lake Junaluska.

I use that dam every year. I cross it on my way to Wal-Mart in Waynesville. Without it, there would be no Lake Junaluska. It's a very important dam. But more important than ministries?

According to our Jurisdictional body, yes.

It is a sad day for the United Methodist Church.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Young People Address

The youth and young adult address went really well! The youth went first, and talked about the great things that the SEJ does with youth, including bringing in over 600 youth through the gates of Lake Junaluska each summer. Then for the young adult report, we had about 10-15 young adults stand at the mic and make a statement about either themselves or the situation of a young adult. I said "I am a young adult. My husband and I have been married for four and a half years, and I am working in my first job. I am a young adult." Some of the others said things about having children, owning a home, financial issues, and other marital situations. We were trying to give the body an overall idea of the broad range of life situations in which young adults find themselves. Then Pheobe Hathorn, who has been the secretary of the SEJ Young People's group, gave a rousing speech about young people. The best thing she said (which actually was an idea from Kelsey Morris, who was listed as the person to give the speech, but no one told her until about a week before, and she wasn't able to come) was that young adults are not just the future of the church, or even the present, but are the past, present, and future of the church. We have been here, we are here, and we will be here for years to come. I was moved by her speech. I don't think the body was moved quite as much as I was, but I was moved!

Of course, as always, we give lipservice to our young people, but when it comes to putting them on committees, giving them money, or including them in representation, it's a whole different story. We just passed the nominations report, and there was one youth in the entire list. One. There were eight young adults, which was good. And I guess it's hard to ask youth to serve on a General Board and Agency. But we should try, and we should make it possible for them to attend. Have a board meeting in the summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


6 Ballots and we have a bishop. Paul Leland, from North Carolina, was elected this morning with 2 more votes than the number needed.

As a fellow delegate said, there is a sense of relief when the process is over, no matter how it turns out. It's always disappointing when "your" candidate isn't elected, but I think somewhere deep inside none of us expected that Lynn would be elected. However the turn out, I do think that Paul Leland has good possibility. I liked what he said Tuesday in the round robin sessions, some of the answers he gave and points he made. But, I liked our bishop four years ago, too, so I'm hesitant to even give my own opinion on what kind of bishop he'll make. None of us really know.

So, now we turn to the other business of the Jurisdictional Conference. What would that other business be? Well...that's a good question. We're all kind of wondering the same thing. Bishop Whitaker told me this morning that the Consecration service will not be moved up because there is a consensus among the Council of Bishops that all newly elected bishops will be consecrated on the same day across the country. That's kind of cool, I can understand that. But the agenda committee reported this morning, and didn't really make any changes. We're thinking we can at least move things together and get longer meal breaks. Someone did request from the floor that we try to finish our business this afternoon and tomorrow morning and take tonight off. We'll see! I think it's possible.

We do have other business. We've been doing teaching sessions, which have been pretty good, except for the first one. It was really boring, given by a professor of theology. I think he tried to cram an entire college course into an hour. Michael was able to summarize his points into about 5 minutes. The second was very interesting, given by a historian and theologian. I didn't pay close attention because I was doing a sudoku, but what I heard was good. We're in the middle of the third right now, being given by Bishop Carder, so of course it's good! But I'm blogging and not paying close attention, either.

Almost time for lunch. The youth and young adult addresses are this afternoon. I'll post about them later!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Holy Cow...We ARE moving into the 21st Century!

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1st Ballot we're back after lunch. We've had a showchoir singing and dancing for us. They're not that good in the singing area, but their dancing is pretty good, and man are they having fun! It's a choir from a church, and there's a bunch of them. It's really cool to see a church with that kind of ministry.

I think it's time to hear a ballot. The first was taken, and it was supposed to be a write in. But they listed all of the declared candidates in alphabetical order and we filled in the box next to the name. Interesting...I thought the first was to be a write in so that no one had preferential treatment by having their name listed first. Maybe they can't read people's handwriting?

Lunch was glorious! We ate boxed lunches outside by the lake. It was beautiful! I avoided Cokesbury, so I wasn't tempted to buy anything. The plan is Italian for dinner. Yum!

More later!

Juridsuctional Conference: Day 1/2 and 1

The conference actually started today, but yesterday we had a "round robin" meet and greet with each of the episcopal nominees. I was interested that my impressions of the candidates changed between their presentations to the large group and then their q&a with each individual conference.

So far, it's been really good. We're staying at Providence Lodge with Michael, Margaret, Sarah and Elizabeth, and Beth and Debbie. We're having a good time! The only person missing is Mark...he decided he didn't want to take the time off work for this. Can't say that I blame him, but I wish he was here! Last night we went to a cookout for the delegation and then played games (Nert? New to me! and Apples to Apples). This morning we walked around the lake with the Williams. It was a beautiful morning.

Stuart Auditorium has air conditioning! I'm kinda upset...because now it's freezing in here. And we've lost that "nature" feel. They have all the windows closed and signs all over saying keep the windows and doors closed. It's crazy.

Okay, we're moving to a service of preparation for electing a new bishop. Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Nashville Sounds

So, the women's ensemble that I sing with sang the National Anthem at the Nashville Sounds Game Sunday night! It was very exciting. About 300 groups auditioned to sing, and only about 50 or so were asked! We were pumped. Even with the Sounds' losing season and a small crowd, it was still the biggest audience we've ever sung for!

4th of July weekend was awesome! Mark and I went to Nashville Shores with Linda and James Thursday after work. That was the first time we'd really gotten to hang out with them, and we had a really good time! Nashville Shores was packed with people. We made it down two slides in two hours. Definitely overcrowded. But Linda found a great place to watch the fireworks over the lake, and that made the whole day worth it! Afterwards, we went back to Linda and James' house and hung out for awhile, just talking. It was really good!

Then Friday was the big family picnic. I overate - though I did better than usual. All of the family was there, and we got to meet the new baby Liam - he's so precious! That night we saw the downtown fireworks. Once again, Mark's dad was awesome at finding just the right spot at just the right moment. We had a great view, and then a perfect shot to get out of downtown without getting stuck in the traffic!

Saturday was a day at the Caboose. It poured rain for about 3 hours, which stunk, but it really cooled things off. We went to the Soda Pop Junction for lunch - I always love that place.

And then we ended the weekend by singing at the Sounds' game! It was a really good weekend!

This week I'm working VBS at church. Our church goes all out for VBS - completely transforms the entire children's wing and about half of the rest of the church. As one of our pastors said today, it's not decorating, it's remodeling! This is the second year I've done VBS, and I really hope to get more involved in future years. Decorating would be so much fun, but they always do it while I'm working. But at least my work will let me off to do VBS!