Annual Conference begins on Monday.
While many -- if not most -- folks I know dread going to Conference, it's one of my favorite parts of the year. By far. So much so that I once went to the extreme of flying into Atlanta from Hawaii (8 hours jet lagged) and after two hours rest in Atlanta, drove to Athens for a week of Conference. That was an interesting Conference year, let me tell you.
This summer, I will have been to Conference as a voting delegate every year since I was 12, so this makes my 7th year straight. I think that puts me in the running for 'Methodork'.
When explaining what Annual Conference is like, I always have to fight the urge to paraphrase Dickens, and say that it was "the best of times and the worst of times." Because that is exactly what Conference is.
The best comparison I can come up with is to say that Conference is one big dysfunctional family reunion, with a bit of business thrown in on the side. Seriously. Anything and everything you would expect to find at a dysfunctional family's reunion, you'll find at Annual Conference. You'll find laughter and tears. Happy people, extremely bored people, and very angry people. Food, food and more food. Gossiping. Sinister plots in various stages of developement. People nodding off in their chairs. You'll even find Grandpa (in Conference terms, the preacher whom you'd least expect) distributing very surreptitiously -- from the trunk of his car --the booze he brought along. You'll find folks hugging, and folks who are trying very hard not to bop each other in the nose.
Somehow, amidst all the chaos and commotion, we occasionally manage to stumble across what it means to be a Christian.
I sure am looking forward to it... I'm looking forward to going home to Conference.
And you can bet that I'll be blogging.