Now this is what General Conference is all about: legislation! Today the work of legislative committees began in earnest. Since I’m a reserve delegate, I’m not assigned a committee. I can observe, float around, watch.
I can also visit with people. Bishop Machado from Mozambique preached in the opening worship. A few of you may remember Thyrza Mucambe. Bishop Machado is her Dad. He can preach, let me tell you. He preached in Portugese and it was translated in English. Portugese and Italian are enough alike that I could pick up some of what he was saying before the translator put it in English. I saw Bishop Machado later and it was good to talk with him, if only very briefly.
I also saw Hilary Mawia’s dad, Bishop Mawia from Myanmar. We had a nice little visit. He’ll be in Winfield at the end of next week for Hilary’s graduation. It’s kind of weird being in Ft. Worth, talking to a guy from Myanmar about being in Winfield next week. Ah, The United Methodist Church.
The bishop candidates from the South Central Jurisdiction met for lunch today. I really like these people. There were lots of stories told around the table. Since most (maybe all) are or have been district superintendents, they swapped stories peculiar to being a DS. It was really interesting to listen in: very pragmatic, very administrative, problem-solving-type challenges. Very enlightening.
I had a couple of other really interesting conversations. Stay tuned for more on them, probably after General Conference. But now I should turn to the nuts and bolts of today – the legislative committees. It is a grind. Each committee breaks into sub-committees in order to get the work done. Petitions from all across the connection have come to a central office where they are assigned a particular committee (I won’t give you the list, but there are 13 legislative committees). There are thousands of petitions that are bundled and assigned and then the committees have to get through them all. Hence sub-committees. Their work is daunting.
What I’ve heard (but don’t know for sure, yet): the committee on the superintendency will recommend to the plenary session that the mandatory retirement age for bishops rise from 66 to 72 (70 is the new 50 and 50 is the new 30, you know). I also heard that they considered term limits for bishops. I think this one comes up about every 4 years.
The legistlative committees on church and society and faith and order (two different committees) really have their work cut out for them. These are the committees which get flooded with petitions about homosexual practice. Fun. Please pray for them. These matters are controversial and the folks in these committees will have some gut-wrenching moments.
Day three in the books.