Annual Conference Moments

* Met the Bishop as I was out walking with a friend the first morning, and she jokingly told us to not walk so far and get so many steps (I've been ahead of her on our pedometer competition lately.)

* When we elected the new class of elders and deacons to Full Membership they entered the crowded room dancing to the "wedding video" song, complete with sunglasses, Bibles, and the Book of Discipline. It was a joyous response to what I remember being one of the best moments of my own life. It was also great to see how close the class had become.

* Ordination was joyful last night. I always love that service, and find it so joyful to process in with my colleagues and to worship with them. Being responsible for lining them up beforehand, however, is one of the harder tasks I've had -- like herding cats! Very chatty cats.

* We've been learning about worship this year with Marcia McFee, so worship has been full of movement, color, a variety of music, and great visuals. So my lay delegate and I are scheming. I already plan preaching a year in advance, and the music gets planned then. But what if we had a team of folks to dream up some creative responses to the themes?

* We passed legislation to send to the 2012 General Confernce removing all the language in the Book of Discipline referring to glbt folk and the ways we discriminate against them.

* We have simplified our clergy pay structure, are currently debating housing policies, and have a budget set at 2004 levels.

* We also debated child custody issues at length.

* We have remembered clergy and clergy spouses we have lost (Phyllils and Clem who have been part of Fairmount, and my dear friend Tom).

* Today we heard that Rev. Toby Horst died last night while we were ordaining a new generation of clergy. Toby is one of the clergy who took me on a trip to New York and Washington DC when I was a teenager. That trip did 2 things for me: introduced me to my best friend, Becky, and introduced the justice piece of the United Methodist pattern of discipleship. Thank you, Rev. Horst, and rest in peace.

* We always sing, as required, "And Are We Yet Alive" at clergy session. One phrase struck me this year: fightings without and fears within...I've been wondering about the overall anxiety in the system these days, and there is a hint that fear has been a part of the church from early years.

* I've been pleased to see the good leadership of Fairmount Avenue here at Conference. Murray is our new Trustees Chair, Naren was here for Emma Norton, and Barbara has been here representing the congregation. Not to mention Kristin, one of the clergy attached to the church, who came for yesterday's events.

* The most joyous part of conference is always seeing one another. It is hard to walk through the halls because we are so busy with greetings and hugs. I love the connectional system and how it takes shape in relationships over so many years.

* I'm just about ending my 19th year of ministry. I suppose I'm just about halfway through -- definitely middle-aged!!