Sunday is looking like an interesting day.
It’s Sunday morning so we start with worship, of course. At 7:30 a.m. Why the early start? Because one of our rules is that we have to be done by 6:30 each evening. We’ll have an hour or so for lunch. They’re planning for a busy day. And I’m OK with that, let’s get this thing moving.
We have 78 petitions before us, those 78 have passed the initial vetting to “be in harmony” with the purpose of General Conference. No doubt, 78 is a big number. Each of those 78 will be debated, possibly amended, voted, etc. Usually the heavy lifting of voting is done in any of a dozen or so committees. The committees separate the wheat from the chaffe, with those petitions approved in committee making it to the plenary floor. But we have a single committee of the whole to work with, so all 800 of us will work on those 78.
An early bell weather will be who is elected to chair this legislative committee. The conservatives or traditionalists will lift up Dr. Joe Clark, the Bishop’s Assistant and Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Annual Conference. Centrists or progressives are behind Cornelia, “Connie” Clark, a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
To make the legislative process more manageable, today we will prioritize those 78 petitions. With our handy dandy electronic keypads we will each rate each of those 78 as high or low priority. The ones with the higher average rating will be considered first and the ones at the bottom we may not even get to.
So a couple things will happen tomorrow. First, we’ll see what we’re really interested in. Those of you who have been following this know that there are three plans in question, each comprised of 15 or more petitions. Each of those will be considered separately, not as a package for each plan. But we should still have a good sense of where we are going. Those of you holding a torch for the Connectional Conference Plan could see it fall way down the list tomorrow.
The second thing we’ll see (or hopefully not see) is the obstruction and political garbage that many are expecting. We have a limited amount of time, so a strategy could be that a petition that calls for all churches to have blue carpeting could be debated with three speeches for and three against. But before we vote some could move an amendment to replace blue with dark blue. That amendment would then be debated and then voted on. But someone else replaces dark blue red and the debate goes on. None of this, of course is because we care what color the carpet is, we just want to make darn sure the stuff on down the list never sees the light of day.
So check out the live streams Sunday morning at 7:30 central. Worship at General Conference really is an amazing thing and it really is worth your while. Then settle in and see where your favorite piece of legislation lands on the priority line.
Should be interesting.
Photo Credit Mike DuBose, UMNS