Every summer our Conference of the United Methodist Church holds its annual business meeting in June. For many of my KidMin colleagues, those are the weeks of Vacation Bible School and summer camps. Me, too. But what if you were able to carve out the time to be an at-large delegate to be part of the process?
For every clergy delegate there is a lay delegate. Some clergy delegates are retired, on medical leave, on loan to other UM Conferences. When we gather each year to discuss resolutions, share celebration reports, hear amazing preaching, and participate in various worship experiences, there are lay people who make ‘the representative pair’ of one clergy and one lay person.
I have been honored and thrilled to be an at-large delegate for my district for many years. My whys? Networking, collaboration, table life with those I admire, face time with folks I have served with from day-one. I listen/participate in the debates of everything from church property management, promote and voice the needs of my KidMin colleagues, and vote on resolutions that help define our position in areas of social justice and mission.
There are specific activities for those engaged in Christian education, young adults, a fantastic team of youth delegates, clergy women, UM Men, UM Women, a 5K, and so much more. Baby Girl was a delegate in high school and college for years before I got involved. I would wait in anxious expectation for when she’d come home sharing stories of her experiences each year and decided I wanted in. I contacted our District Office and asked if there was a need or opening for an at-large delegate and the rest is history.
The district offers a stipend to cover hotel and meal expenses…our apportionment dollars at work to do intentional church business and give me access to people, places, and programs that can support our local churches and other KidMin champions in the trenches. Standing in support of colleagues at their ordination service, hearing the retired clergy speeches, and honoring those who have gone on to Glory in the last year are just a few of my can’t-misses.
Plans are in the works to have a gathering of KidMin champions while I’m there this year because we are better together in connection. Face time is always better than screen time. If you want to drink from the fire-hose of varied worship (as varied as our congregations across our Conference), have face time with folks who can make KidMin things happen, and get access to resources you didn’t even know were available in our own backyard, perhaps you’d like to join me in Athens to be an at-large delegate or a delegate from your local church at the 2017 Annual Conference. I guarantee it’s worth the conversations to get the ball rolling. And I’d love to share some table life with you.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20