- One highlight was the theme presentations. The theme speaker was John Ikerd and he was wonderful. He spoke about sustainability and agriculture and ethics and economics. One concept that stood out was that "it makes no economic sense to do anything for others which doesn't benefit us". It is a powerful conscience that can stand up and say "the system is broken".
- Another definite highlight was the celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry. As part of that celebration we recounted the history of getting to this point in our time. We also took time to lament the church's history of heterosexism/homophobia. Then we had a celebration with rainbow flags and liturgy and made a covenant to be a safe place, an affirming place, a welcoming place. During both the lament and the celebration there were tears in some eyes.
- One of the highlights of conference every year is the music. Music that we don't get to sing in small congregations that are reluctant to try new music, music sung by hundreds of voices at once, music that enlivens the soul and quickens the heart.
- $14.03 per resident member (using 2006 statistics). That is all it takes to fund the Conference Budget. Admittedly a more useful number would be $ per identifiable giver, but still that is remarkably low. Yes that money comes, in the end, from local congregations (through assessments to Presbytery which in turn assesses congregations for the cost of running Presbyteries) and therefore comes out of funds available for local work. But still $14.03 per resident member!
- A constant struggle with these meetings is that there is too much crammed into too short a period. a 13 hour day on Friday and a 9 hour day on Saturday (often with meetings over meal times) coupled with a 2 hour session on Thursday and a 1.5 hour worship on Sunday. Not to mention an 8 hour drive each way... (and children who don't often go to sleep easily in hotel rooms)
- And even with all that time there was not enough time set aside for business -- or too much set aside for other (yes important and meaningful) things so there were 2 proposals that didn't even get looked at before being referred to the Executive
- How many times do we have to hear various ways of saying "we don't do it that way" or fear of change/newness?
- But at least we can laugh at ourselves. OR at least some of us can.
- Oh and I guess I should mention that at the Presbytery meeting on Saturday I was installed as chair of Presbytery for 2008-09
ETA: The "official" summary statement from the meeting is here