This year’s session of the Kansas West Annual Conference was curiously refreshing. We met May 23-25 at the Kansas State Fairgrounds with a theme of “Vital Congregations: Dynamic Worship.”
A variety of worship experiences characterized our time together, including powerful preaching by Bishop Gregory Palmer who proclaimed the “Word of the Lord” at the Service of Commissioning and Ordination that took place on Wednesday evening.
Having spent eleven days at General Conference in Tampa, Florida, it was refreshing to meet for only three days. Moreover, it was good to discuss issues and to make decisions without subterfuge or political maneuvering.
The issue that commanded the most attention was the recommendation for us to become one Annual Conference, composed of three current conferences—Kansas West, Kansas East, and Nebraska. Generally speaking, we were able to ask our questions and to make our speeches without resorting to accusation or innuendo. We could disagree without being disagreeable. We could speak to one another rather than about one another.
All things considered, our conversation was healthy and constructive. We will find out about becoming one conference on Saturday, June 9, after the Kansas East Conference and the Nebraska Conferences have also voted. If this is approved, it would then be referred to the South Central Jurisdiction and presumably implemented on January 1, 2014.
There were other factors that made this a good conference. There were more clergy commissioned, recognized, or ordained than retired this year. That is a pleasant change from the direction we have moved in recent years.
We were blessed by the visit of eight clergy and laity from Zimbabwe, who helped us to experience the “joy of the Lord” in new ways. We sang “Amazing Grace” together in a blended version, with simultaneous singing in Shona and English.
And then there were babies! We are currently privileged to have several younger clergy—including a number of clergy couples—who have infants under a year of age. One of these babies was baptized as part of the Service of Commissioning and Ordination. This helped remind all of us that our call to ministry is based in our baptism. The presence of these little ones throughout the entire conference helped to bring a perspective that was refreshing for those of us who are “old” or “oldish!”
And so, despite the fatigue of three long days of meetings, we were curiously refreshed and spiritually renewed for another year of service!
No comments yet.
Leave a Reply