Holy Conferencing Batman!!!!
Today the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland begins in Dublin, and I shall be attending with my usual good grace, expecting great things.
No... Those who no me know fine well that I am grumbler in chief, although I feel that there are many in conference who run a sweep on how long it will take the pent up frustration within me to bubble up and lead me to vent steam from every orifice over some inconsequential matter. I really don't like conference, and although it is shorter this year, by a half day, the daily sessions are longer.
But I am genuinely trying to go with a different attitude this year especially after a colleague in Grand Rapids, Laurie Haller (who is a relatively sane individual) posted on her blog site a comment in advance of the West Michigan Annual conference, referring to 'John Wesley's notion of "holy conferencing"' which he saw as "a means of grace, along with reading the Bible, attending worship, praying and receiving the sacraments." That's a HIGH theology of conference!
But if we approach conference with that sort of mindset Laurie suggests that "The business that we conduct... is not mundane, perfunctory or meaningless. It is sacred work."
To that end Laurie further suggests that (please excuse the transatlantic spelling):
- Holy conferencing means that we don't all have to agree, but we do need to honor and respect the views of others.
- Holy conferencing means that our personal agendas are set aside in favor of an attempt to discern God's will together.
- Holy conferencing means that we are continually enlarging our vision to include all people at the conference table, which is really the table of the Lord.
- Holy conferencing means that rather than complain about what the conference or our local church isn't doing for us, we remember that we are the conference, and we are the local church.
- Holy conferencing means that we release the power of the Holy Spirit to blow where it wills.
You know... I'm going to give it a go... Anyone fancy a sweepstake on how long I will stick with the programme!?