Up early to be ready for the 7:30 am meeting with one of the candidates for bishop, which was followed by a second meeting at 8:00 with another candidate. We had already chosen questions to ask and knew who would ask them, so these meetings were energetic and informative.
The rest of the morning was spent in plenary session hearing how the now 8 candidates would respond to various questions. One gentleman had pulled out of the election.
After lunch we boarded school buses to go to Central UMC of Phoenix: the afternoon was planned to spend some time at the nearby Heard Museum learning about how the U.S. treated various Native American tribes in the middle of the 1800’s by taking the young children from families and putting them in Boarding Schools and also seeing lots of beautiful art, pottery, weavings, and more of the Indians. Back to Central UMC to meet with two more candidates and then we participated in a learning, innovative ‘worship service’ around how the church can move forward in its Awareness, Implications,Evaluation and Practices of being Christian today toward Others.
Back to the hotel for dinner, more delegation meeting and more plenary time. A second vote on choosing a bishop was taken – no selection…..there isn’t even a trend beginning. Tomorrow morning brings early meetings at 7:30 again. Today was hot, hot, hot as we rode in those buses with little air conditioning. Tomorrow we stay here in very cool rooms or walk out side in the triple digit temperatures.
Ready to get off my feet and sleep! Ruth
The morning began with registration at 9:00 am and then beginning worship at 12:30 pm. Those who slept in and had a late breakfast (like my roommate and myself) really did not need any lunch. The main ballroom was set up with tables for all 100 delegates in the middle of the room, the bishops and main speakers in the front, tables along the sides were for those on jurisdictional committees. Observers were to sit in rows way on the two sides. The rear of the room was reserved for sound,video and communications. Worship lasted for well over 2 and 1/2 hours, setting the theme of “Crossing Thresholds” with videos, litanies, music and a sermon from Bishop Brown, who is retiring this year. The order of business then began after a short break. Since one of our lay delegates was not present, I was asked to take his place at one of the center tables….YAH! What fun!
Introducing the candidates for electing the one bishop needed for our Western Jurisdiction, was the first business item. Part of that was nominations from the floor for other candidates – three people were nominated and in a vote by the delegates, they each received at least 5% of the total vote. So then we heard a 4 minute speech from the six original candidates plus the three new ones. By then the time was 4:30 pm and the buses were beginning to come to take us all to a local UMC for dinner, a Memorial service and a time to ‘meet and greet’ the candidates. Back at the hotel by 9:45 pm and had a Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone conference meeting to talk about what process we wanted to use as we talked to each candidate separately. Going to bed now at 11:00 pm – long day. Tomorrow morning we meet one of the candidates at 7:30 am and one at 8:00 am.
Enjoying seeing and talking to so many lay and clergy men and women I have come to know over the years.