Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Setting the Table

After midnight at the Harrisburg Hilton the staff is busily preparing for the next day. Handrails are being polished, the seemingly countless water goblets are being replaced and carpets are being vacuumed. I think the delegates to Jurisdictional Conference have been doing similar work all day preparing for a smooth running process.
I spent about almost all day in session with the Nominating Committee. We scheduled to meet until lunch but had to go until just after 10:00pm. (with breaks for meals and Bible Study). All in all, I'm only counting us as being in session for about seven hours. You know you've reached a new level when seven hours of nominating people for church committees isn't that bad... In fact! I'm feeling like I'm all warmed up for tomorrow. We begin interviewing candidates for Bishop.

The nominating process was very difficult. Our representation on committees was literally shrinking throughout the day, thanks to a small miscalculation we were originally given. Basically New England had to fill five spots which then became six which then became four and which finally ended up being five (including one we didn't know we had filled until after lunch because they were appointed via another nominating body earlier this year). So... I'm sure that's clear to you.
I'm very glad that I can trust the people I was working with, it just made it easier. However, I hadn't prepared myself for the fact that immediately after we adjourned at 10:10, we met with our entire delegation, which had been arriving throughout the day and reported our results. It was basically all of the reactions and thoughts and emotions we'd been experienced since 8:30 condensed into a ten-minute conversation. Not easy. But then again, I think I can do this work.

We had a large group Bible Study, which I would really call more of a sermon. But for me one, the welcome from the Mayor of Harrisburg was actually very interesting. The Mayor basically preached! And it was good! I suppose I was surprised that this person who looked like... well... the Mayor of Harrisburg, was so challenging and spiritual and inspiring. It was really quite wonderful EXCEPT for the fact that he made a series of very uncomfortable jokes about the Bishop and delegation from West Virginia and their roots in the Confederate States of America. It was bizarre and highly questionable. Turns out that it is also incorrect, as Bishop Lyght of West Virginia pointed out.

We also met our small groups that will be interviewing candidates tomorrow. I've got a good group. We created some questions to ask and they seemed fair to me (but I did have to leave early because Nominating reconvened at 9:00 pm).

On the total silliness factor: there are chocolate candy bars being distributed that feature Bishop Middleton of Harrisburg on the wrapper in her purple episcopal clergy blouse. It's weird and I'm not sure if it's supposed to be funny or not. I'll have to ask her about them. It looks like the sort of gag gift you might make for someone on their fiftieth birthday or retirement party. I'll try to get my hands on one of these or snap a photo.

Well the table is set for our work. It's funny having the experience of working all day before things really begin. Even as I look around the lobby at this late hour, most of the staff seems to have finished their preparations. The only piece of trash is an empty can of TAB soda on the coffee table in front of me. I wonder who still drinks TAB?


Anonymous said...

Hey Will!

I can't resist . . .

Finally, I am on blogs not trying to talk about religion - but into stuff that I can actually speak about!

West Virginia was formed when the state of Virginia seceded from the Union to join the confederacy. The six most western counties in the state - those counties that were predominately mountainous (and therefore with very few plantation owners that needed slaves to work) - voted to stay with the Union. Lincoln jumped on this opportunity, and separated the state into two. West Virginia was an extremely proud Union state - who took more of a stand against slavery than most other Northern states ever did.

That's the history lesson for today! Anyone want to talk about Civil War drums? I can go on for hours about those.

Just kidding . . .

Thanks for the great blog posts!


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