Prepping for Portland

April 26, 2016

T minus 11 days until I depart for Portland.  As General Conference quickly approaches, I’ve been spending more time reading legislation than I ever expected.  But I’ve discovered my preparations have involved a bit more than just reading.

Today was “set up my new lap top” day.  Now I have both text group apps I’ll be using to communicate with my delegation, a link to my work website so I can check messages and clear our my review box every day, all of the Advanced Daily Christian Advocate downloaded (in easy to navigate sections thanks to Lynne Gilbert!), and the Book of Resolutions downloaded on my kindle app.  My Book of Discipline is tabbed in a few key places and my print version of the ADCA is tabbed with color coded post-it notes to section off the legislation by committee.

I have my packing list started, my grocery list for when arrive completed, house sitters and pet sitters squared away and flight information printed.  Pertinent emails have been flagged and filed for easy access.  My map of Portland is ready to go.  I’ve downloaded the PDX Bus app for the Max line & public transportation maps.  I’ve worn out 2 highlighters already and have “buy highlighters” on this week’s to do list.  We’ve been in touch with friends from college who live in Portland to arrange dinner on the night before GC starts.  I’ve laminated a quick reference card of Roberts Rules of Order.  I’ve watched Roberts Rules instructional videos.  I’ve read countless letters and emails from various folks around the country discussing proposed legislation about which they feel passionate.  I’m trying out a few new shoulder bags to see which will be best for carrying my laptop, ADCA books, BOD, water bottle, pens, said highlighters and charger cords.

Except for the legislation reading piece, the rest of this prep work is right up my ally.  I love to plan, organize, get ready for things – to be prepared.  I’ve had our condo rented since August so I’d get a place with a kitchen and washer & dryer with a running path along the river right outside the door only 0.9 miles from the Convention Center.

I’m grateful that my husband, Josh, will be joining me in Portland.  He gets the luxury of coming & going from GC as he pleases and spending time sleeping in, running, relaxing and seeing the sites.  He’s there as a visitor, an observer, with no official responsibilities.  He deserves the much needed break but I know I’ll be a bit envious come day 10 of meetings and voting.

I’m still a bit apprehensive about so many unknowns and about so many of the negative things I’ve heard about GC from those who have been before.  The fast pace at which legislation is brought forth before a vote, the mean spiritedness of some delegates toward others, and the “us” and “them” mentality (of which I am definitely guilty).  The world is watching and my hope & prayer is that we will not let them down.  I pray that we will treat each other with love and respect despite our wide range of opinions and passions.  I pray that we will be willing to listen before we speak, to think clearly before we vote, to see Christ in our midst.  And I pray that in the midst of the hard work, long hours and countless time sitting and debating and amending and voting, that we will still feel a sense of peace and sense of hope for the future of the United Methodist Church.  So many are skeptical.  Let’s try our best to prove them wrong.

Some days I wonder what in the world I was thinking.  But I felt God nudging me to step way out of my comfort zone into a place I’d never expected to be and here I am.  God called even me.  And I answered.  Praise be!  Portland, here we come…